SINGAPORE – It has been almost two years since Annika Sorenstam hung up her clubs.
One of the most successful female players in golfing history, the Swede made the decision to stop playing professional, start a family and concentrate on building a business empire.
And as delegates at this month’s Asia Pacific Golf Summit in Bangkok will discover, Sorenstam has adapted to her new life in impressive fashion.
Along with South African legend Gary Player and Australian great Greg Norman, Sorenstam will be among the keynote speakers at the three-day conference , Oct.18-20.
As well as being a mother, her various business interests are progressing well, including her golf course design company, a clothing and fashion line and a teaching academy in Orlando, Fla. She also has become involved in winemaking.
“A lot of my business is lifestyle; the lifestyle I live,” she said. “I am a Type A personality. I am always on the go and love building something from scratch.”
Sorenstam is playing an active role in Europe’s bid to regain the Solheim Cup. She was persuaded to take up the vice captaincy for the event at Ireland’s Killeen Castle next September – and is tackling the position with her usual gusto.
Sorenstam, of course, has a history in team golf. As well as being the record points holder in the Solheim Cup, she was captain of the International Team in the Lexus Cup in Singapore before her retirement.
During her playing career, Sorenstam won more than 90 tournaments worldwide including 10major titles, and more than $22 million in prize money on the U.S. LPGA Tour.
“In golf, it was results that drove me and now I want to have the best academy out there,” Sorenstam told the Irish Times. “We’re talking wines, my goal is to have people to drink glasses of my red and say ‘Wow, this is one of the best I’ve had’ or, in my clothing, go ‘Hey, I’m proud of my shirt.’
“In golf course design, I want people to say ‘This is a great golf course, I want to play it again.’ I set a high standard in what I want to achieve and that takes hard work.”
Sorenstam admitted that she didn’t have the same motivation to stay at the top in golf, attributing in part to her retirement .
“I just realized winning another tournament didn’t fulfill me anymore,” Sorenstam said. “I had climbed my Mount Everest, I wanted to climb other mountains. I had other passions and had other interests I wanted to pursue. I wanted to start a family.
“To me, I had given 100 percent to something and if I can’t do that I don’t want to do it. I know what it is like to be at the top.
“To me, it was (a case of): I’ve been there, I don’t want to do it halfway because that’s not going to make me happy.”