Some inspirational words from a World Golf Hall of Famer highlighted what was the beginning of an important week in junior golf.
Annika Sorenstam, who amassed 89 worldwide professional victories, including 72 LPGA wins, 10 of which were Major Championships, addressed players, parents and guests at the 35th Junior PGA Championship Welcome Dinner at Parkview Field in Fort Wayne, Ind.
Sorenstam reflected upon her career and offered insight into golf tournament preparation; handling success and dealing with nerves, setting goals and giving back to the game that gave her so much.
“I want to tell these juniors about my story and what it takes to be a professional,” said Sorenstam. “I also want them to learn about giving back to the game, something I have been able to do with the Annika Foundation.”
Sorenstam created the Foundation as a way to teach children the importance of living a healthy, active lifestyle through fitness and nutrition, and offer aspiring junior golfers opportunities to pursue their dreams.
Those messages were embraced by all attending the event, including PGA of America Vice President Allen Wronowski.
“It is always a privilege to hear inspirational words from one of the most accomplished players this game has ever seen, said Wronowski, the PGA director of golf at Hillendale Country Club in Phoenix, Md. “It was not only motivational and captivating to the competitors but to the parents, officials and anyone attending.
“Everyone left getting to know her better, and were given a game plan to enhance their golf experience as well as their life.”
Sorenstam emphasized that the players in the Junior PGA Championship should savor the moment that they have to compete in a premier junior event.
“I want each player to enjoy there time this week and realize what a privilege it is to be competing in such a prestigious event,” said Sorenstam. “Many players dream about the chance to play in a tournament like this and I want them to appreciate the opportunity.”
Sorenstam’s audience features one boy and one girl champion from each of the 41 PGA Sections, one boy and one girl champion from the all PGA Junior Series events prior to the Junior PGA Championship; winners of selected national junior events conducted earlier in the year; past Junior PGA Championship winners and many players listed on the Junior Golf Scoreboard, Polo Golf and Golfweek national rankings.
“I was excited when I was asked to speak to these talented juniors; they really are good,” said Sorenstam. “If my words tonight can help these kids succeed, my time here was a huge success.”
Annika’s priorities in life have changed, as she has her hand in many business ventures as well as being the parent of an 11-month-old daughter.
“My priorities have definitely changed, not the least of which is our beautiful baby girl,” said Sorenstam. “I truly enjoy what I am doing now and I have not looked back.”
The 35th Junior PGA Championship, which begins today and runs through Thursday, is being staged at Sycamore Hills Golf Club in Fort Wayne, Ind.
Follow all the action by visiting PGA.com and PGAJuniorSeries.com.