DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Annika Sorenstam is hoping to have so much fun at the Dubai Ladies Masters she brought her entire family along as she bids goodbye to professional golf for one last time.
Going into the season-ending Ladies European Tour tournament, the 38-year-old Swede thinks that her unusual preparation — which included a four-day visit to India for a yoga retreat — and happy memories of the Majlis course at the Emirates Golf Club where she won on both previous occasions she played here, will be enough to help her end her career on a winning note.
Sorenstam held a press conference Tuesday ahead of the $642,000 tournament which starts Thursday.
Undoubtedly one of the greatest female golfers of all time, Sorenstam has won 72 titles on the LPGA Tour, including 10 majors, and 17 other international tournaments. She announced her retirement in May, two days after winning the LPGA’s Michelob Ultra Open.
“It’s a little bittersweet to make this my last professional tournament,” Sorenstam said. “I’m here to enjoy it. I’ve got both sets of parents here and my sister is here and we all want a little bit of a celebration week.
“Hopefully, I can play some good golf as well, but I just really want to come and enjoy it and get a chance to absorb everything and to leave with some great memories.”
Talking about her preparation for the tournament, the only woman to shoot a 59 in a professional tournament, said: “I had a really weird preparation for this week. I played in Singapore a few weeks ago and then I went to India on a yoga retreat and didn’t touch a golf club. Then I caught the flu and went to Malaysia for a course design visit and then I’m here. So I have not really prepared the way I wanted to.
“The one thing I’m going to rely on is my memories from the previous years and the knowledge of the golf course and then my caddie of course.”
Sorenstam said she was comfortable with her decision to retire, even though she did not rule out a comeback at a later date.
“I can’t think of a better time to step away from the game, because it’s in such good shape,” Sorenstam said. “We have so many great players. Just take the LPGA for example, we have Lorena Ochoa, Paula Creamer is playing fantastically and Yani Tseng is playing awesome golf.
“So I feel very good about leaving the game in such a good time. You know, it’s up to them now to carry it on, and I’ll be watching it very closely and wishing them the very best.”