Annika Sorenstam says prize money has never fazed her | Golf News

SOUTHERN PINES (North Carolina): When Annika Sorenstam plays the US Women’s Open in June there will be a record $10 million purse, but the Swedish golfing great says she never thought about prize money after establishing herself early in her Hall of Fame career.
Sorenstam tops the LPGA’s career money list with more than $22 million in earnings, but admits she never entered a tournament knowing what the prize money was.
“For me, it was just being a competitor,” the 10-time Major champion told Reuters at a media event at Pine Needles, where the US Women’s Open will be held June 2-5.
“I wanted to play well, I wanted to win and I wanted to be the best, and then of course there were prize money and a trophy and that was the side effect of that. But money was never a incentive for me.”
This year’s US Women’s Open will be the fourth time the major has been played at Pine Needles, where Sorenstam successfully defended her 1995 title with a six-stroke victory in 1996.
The 51-year-old Sorenstam earned a spot on the course at Pine Needles, where the prize money is nearly double the previous biggest purse for a women’s golf event, by winning the US Senior Women’s Open the last year by eight strokes.
Sorenstam said the rich scholarship is simply a sign of the times.
“I remember when I did my first check, I finished fourth in an LPGA event, it was $36,000 and that was my entire budget for the whole year and that was in March,” Sorenstam said.
“And then after that I never thought about it again because I knew I could afford to go to the next tournament, I knew I could pay my caddy.”
Sorenstam walked away from competitive golf in 2008 after dominating the women’s game for a decade, but played an LPGA event in February 2021 near her home in Florida as part of her preparations for the US Senior Women’s Open.
Sorenstam is one of the most decorated golfers of all time – male or female – having won the LPGA Tour 72 times and although she does not consider herself a ceremonial golfer for the US Women’s Open, she tempered his expectations.
“These young players hit a lot further, they do this for a living, they play every week and are a little hungrier than me if you know what I mean,” Sorenstam said.
“But that doesn’t mean I’m going there and I won’t care. I’ve prepared.
“So I’m going to do what I can and play with what I have and then I’ll be happy with that and see where it takes me. Of course I’d like to play all four days and I think if I play my game I can.”

Michael C. Ford