KOHLER, Wis. (AP) – Annika Sorenstam has returned to the U.S. Women's Open, the major she won three times.
Only this time, Sorenstam is a television commentator instead of a competitor.
Sorenstam worked as an analyst for the Golf Channel on Thursday and Friday and she will provide more commentary on the weekend when NBC televises the final two rounds at Blackwolf Run.
“It's fun for me to do,'' said Sorenstam, who retired in 2008. “This is a championship that meant a lot to me. I felt like it was a good thing to do when I was given the opportunity.''
Although Sorenstam admitted it felt odd at times to comment on players.
“It's strange talking about players that you know so well, players you used to play against,'' she said. “Normally I don't worry about other players. I worry about my own game.''
Rich Lerner and Brandel Chamblee, who worked with Sorenstam on the telecasts, both said she did a good job.
“Fantastic,'' Lerner said. “As a three time U.S. Open champion, that's instant credibility. She's informed and she's likable.''
Chamblee said “a lot of the same things that made her a great player are going to make her great at this.'' For example, he was impressed with how hard Sorenstam worked to learn broadcast techniques so she could do a good job.
Although Sorenstam would like to do more broadcast work, she doesn't want a full-time job. She retired to have children and doesn't want to spend too much time away from daughter Ava and son William.
The children accompanied her to Wisconsin.
“So, I only miss them for a few hours each day,'' she said
Something else Sorenstam doesn't miss is competitive golf, even when memories come flooding back while watching the Open.
“No, not really,'' she said. “When you come here and see them play it seems exciting. But what you really know is all the hard work it takes to get here. And that I don't miss. I've done that, I've been there. I won more championships than I ever thought I could. I've surpassed my expectations of what I wanted to do so I don't have the desire to kind of push myself again.''
SHE'LL BE BACK: Thirteen-year-old Angel Yin vowed to return to the U. S. Women's Open after missing the cut.
The youngest player in the field, she struggled to a 15-over 87 and was 21 over for two rounds. But she was still five shots better than the last-place player and believes she is good enough to make it to the Open again.
“Definitely,'' said Yin, from Arcadia, Calif. “I'll be back.''
Blackwolf Run was a severe test for a young girl playing in her first professional event. It is not only a devilishly difficult Pete Dye design, but the longest course in Open history at nearly 7,000 yards.
It did not help that Yin's driver was coming apart during the first round – it broke completely while she was practicing afterward – and didn't feel right in the second round.
“I finally worked it out on the back nine and began using my three wood. It wasn't so bad, I hit it 250 (yards),'' Yin said.
Despite the tough time she had playing, Yin feels she gained experience that will help her in the future.
She also enjoyed playing with the best players in the world.
“It was a thrill for me to play with my idols,'' she said.