As volunteers at Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth worked on the finishing touches for the Charles Schwab Challenge this week, golf legend Annika Sörenstam remembered her time in the spotlight there.
‘It was kind of the perfect storm in a way,” Sörenstam said.
Sörenstam was the #1 ranked woman golfer in the world when she stepped up to the tee 20 years ago for the PGA Tour event that was then called the Colonial Invitational, now known as the Charles Schwab Challenge.
“This was a crazy week in my life,” Sörenstam said. “But so much positive. So many great memories, so I cherish this moment.”
In 2003, Sörenstam became the first woman in 58 years to play a men’s tour event.
“I wasn’t trying to prove that women can compete against men. It was more about another golfer trying to be better,” Sörenstam said. “I always think about if I would have said no to this opportunity, I would probably still wonder what it would be like.”
Sörenstam shot rounds of 71 and 74, missing the cut by 4, but gaining something greater.
“You know, we put girls’ golf on the map. We put women’s golf on the map and even women’s sports. I mean, I felt the love. I felt the support, and looking back, I think it was a good thing for golf,” Sörenstam said. “It’s the only way to break the barrier is to try something new, and it doesn’t always have to be 100% successful.”
Sörenstam was at Colonial on Wednesday to be the keynote speaker at the Executive Women’s Day luncheon for 300 women community business leaders and philanthropists. She is both.
Sörenstam and her husband started Fizzy Beez craft cocktails during the pandemic. She also has a non-profit called the Annika Foundation, which supports young women in golf.
‘We want girls to dream. We want them to dream big,” Sörenstam said. “It’s easier to dream if you see it’s been done before.”
She says that that week in Fort Worth in 2003 changed her career and her personal life.
“I knew my career at some point would end,” Sörenstam said. “I wanted to make sure I did everything I possibly could and take every opportunity I had to make the most out of it.”