Annika at the Women's Amateur Latin America
If there is a name that represents the great values of golf and is a guiding light for many new generations of golfers, it is Annika Sörenstam.
In strictly sporting terms, she was number one in the world, claimed more than 90 championships – including 72 titles on the LPGA Tour and ten majors throughout her career – and was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2003. That’s why she is regarded as the greatest female golfer.
But outside the golf courses, she has also left a mark, a legacy… and continues to do so. Following her stepping away from professional golf in 2008, Annika focused on her family and her foundation. The ANNIKA Foundation was created in 2007 to provide opportunities in women's golf at the junior, collegiate, and professional levels while encouraging young women about the importance of living an active and healthy lifestyle through exercise and nutrition.
The Foundation annually holds important women's golf events and in 2016 it partnered with The R&A to create the ANNIKA Invitational Latin America championship, which had four successful editions. The AILA was the perfect platform to create something more ambitious for women's golf in the region and the organizers did not hesitate to take the next step to strengthen and expand the success of that event in creating the Women's Amateur Latin America championship (WALA), which celebrated its first edition in 2021.
The inaugural edition featured the stellar presence of Annika in Buenos Aires, who shared the week with the players who had the privilege of attending a clinic held on Saturday, where she shared experiences and lessons from her career as a golfer.
“From the ANNIKA Foundation, we are very excited about our partnership with The R&A in the region which allows us to keep moving forward to see how far we can go to grow the game of golf around the world,” said Annika at Pilar Golf. "We have forged a great relationship to help young women from that part of the world to promote golf and thus be able to follow their passion.”
Mark Lawrie, Director – Latin America & Caribbean at The R&A, added, “It was really spectacular to watch Annika with all the players. Being close to and receiving advice from her are unforgettable memories for these girls. To be in contact with her is to be in contact with history, with a legend, and with the best female golfer of all time. Annika's presence gave the championship a higher note and made it a very special week.”
There is no doubt that the boost that Annika gives to the championship is fundamental, especially for what it represents in golf around the world because it is a source of inspiration and motivation for thousands of female golfers. An example of her greatness is her commitment, generosity and passion for sharing her experience with the new generations, which is a reason for great admiration.
The enthusiasm generated by all the young golfers in the region to be able to participate in the Women's Amateur Latin America is a clear example of what can be achieved when working with the main objective of making the sport grow and, with the second edition just around the corner, the expectations are getting bigger and bigger.
In this regard, Annika analysed what a championship of this level represents for the new generations. “Now there are more opportunities for players and our goal is to inspire these young girls to achieve something big in their lives, whether it is through golf, and use it to create friendships and wonderful memories, have a good time and learn something,” she said.
“One of the ways to do that is to give them opportunities and getting opportunities to get invitations to compete in the majors. So it should be an inspiration for them and a reason to work hard. With this championship we want them to have a great experience and return to their countries to share the passion for the game to others”, added Annika, who will return to Argentina for a new edition of the WALA that will take place from 17-20 November at Pilar Golf.
The winner of the Women’s Amateur Latin America championship will play alongside professional women´s golf stars from around the world in three majors next year: The Chevron Championship (20-23 April at The Club at Carlton Woods, United States); the Amundi Evian Championship (27-30 July at Evian Resort Golf Club, France); and the AIG Women´s Open (10-13 August at Walton Heath Golf Club, England).