Race begins for inaugural Annika Award
Wednesday, February 5, 2014
The start of the 2013-14 college season also means the start of a new female player of the year race. For the first time this year, female collegians are playing for the inaugural Annika Award, to be presented to the outstanding player in NCAA Division I.
The award was created by the Annika Foundation and Haskins Commission as the female equivalent to the Haskins Award, which honors the late Fred Haskins and has been presented to the top male player since 1971. Winners of the Haskins Award include Phil Mickelson (1990, ‘91, ‘92), Tiger Woods (1996), Luke Donald (1999) and Graeme McDowell (2002).
“I think it’s wonderful that we’re starting to acknowledge the talent of so many great players and teams,” said Arizona head coach Laura Ianello.
All Division I female players and women’s golf coaches as well as select golf media members are eligible to vote for the Annika Award. The winner receives an exemption into the Kraft Nabisco Championship, the season’s first LPGA major championship. Golfweek is the official media partner for the award, and 3M is the presenting sponsor.
“My foundation is focused on giving junior golfers, particularly girls, opportunities, as they generally don’t get as many chances to compete against world-class competition,” Sorenstam said. “The same is true of this award. I’m not sure why it has taken 40-some years to have an equal award, but I am thrilled that the Haskins committee presented us with the opportunity.”
The award will be presented at the inaugural Annika Invitational, to be played Sept. 28-30 at Reunion Resort near Orlando, Fla. The 12-team field will feature the nation’s top women’s programs, including recent national champions USC (2013), Alabama (’12) and UCLA (’11). Arizona, where Sorenstam won seven individual titles, notably the 1991 NCAA
Championship, also will compete.
“College golf has always been close to my heart,” Sorenstam said. “The two years I spent at Arizona really helped kickstart my career and let me know I could compete at a high level.”