ANNIKA Foundation Extends Top AJGA Invitational For Five Years
ST. AUGUSTINE, Florida -- Annika Sorenstam, a LPGA and World Golf Hall of Famer and arguably one of the biggest champions of women’s golf worldwide, will continue to host the ANNIKA Invitational USA presented by Rolex through 2025.
The invitation-only event hosted by the American Junior Golf Association (AJGA) will be extended for another five years to feature the top female golfers in the world. The tournament field is annually selected in January using the Rolex AJGA Rankings and champions from the five other international ANNIKA girls’ Invitationals.
”Our team is honored to continue the ANNIKA Foundation’s partnership with the AJGA,” says Annika. “The AJGA’s support has been instrumental, as we’ve grown this event into one of the best in the world and are excited to take it to even greater heights in the coming years.”
Thanks to financial support from mutual partner Rolex and the ANNIKA Foundation, which provides opportunities in women’s golf while teaching young people the importance of off-the-course priorities like personal development, education, fitness and nutrition, physical well-being and giving back.
Each year, Annika is deeply involved in all facets of the Invitational. Annika and her family annually get to know the players at the World Golf Hall of Fame Dinner, the ANNIKA Clinic sponsored by Rolex, “More than Golf” First Tee of North Florida Clinic, and shake players’ hands on the 18th green after the final round. She is also a staple at the Callaway Golf Junior-Am, sending off the participants and awarding them after the round. Beyond her presence, it is her individual connections with the ANNIKA Invitational field that set the event apart.
Proceeds from the AJGA event have been used to endow an Achieving Competitive Excellence (ACE) Grant in the ANNIKA Foundation's name. The ACE Grant program was created by the AJGA in 2003 to ensure opportunities were available to junior golfers with skill who lacked the financial resources required to compete in national junior golf.
Over the years, more than 2,000 talented AJGA junior golfers have turned $4 million in junior golf opportunities into $15 million in college scholarships. Six juniors competing in the 2020 ANNIKA Invitational USA presented by Rolex are ACE Grant recipients including 2019 Rolex Junior Player of the Year Rose Zhang.
Beyond the AJGA Invitational, the ANNIKA Foundation developed the game around the world, growing to five other international junior events on four other continents: ANNIKA Cup (Sweden), ANNIKA Invitational at Mission Hills (China), ANNIKA Invitational Europe (Sweden), ANNIKA Invitational Latin America (TBD for 2020) and ANNIKA Invitational Australasia (New Zealand). The ANNIKA Award presented by Stifel is annually given to the most outstanding female collegiate golfer as a part of the ANNIKA Intercollegiate presented by 3M in the fall. In total in 2019, the Annika Foundation served more than 600 girls and young women from 60+ countries.
“Annika’s support has been tremendous for golf by directly developing the next generation of golfers,” said Jason Etzen, AJGA Chief Business Officer. “Her Foundation represents a direct investment in the future of women’s golf at all levels, but it is Annika’s personal relationship to the competition, ‘More Than Golf’ lifestyle, and long-term commitment to personal growth that is truly remarkable.”
First begun in 2009, the ANNIKA Invitational USA presented by Rolex has crowned 12 champions in its 13-year history including LPGA Tour players Angel Yin (2015), Céline Boutier (2011),Victoria Tanco (2010), and Simin Feng (2009). 2012 champion Alison Lee went on to become the only AJGA / ANNIKA Invitational champion to also win top women’s college golf honors in the ANNIKA Award presented by Stifel.
Top college champions include UCLA grad and the event’s only two-time champion Bethany Wu (2013, 2014), Stanford’s Brooke Seay (2017) and Angelina Ye (2018), Duke’s Jaravee Boonchant (2016), and LSU’s Ingrid Linblad. In 2020, Benedetta Moresco of Caldogno, Vicenza, became the event’s first Italian champion.
Prior to her role as a mentor and advocate for female golfers, Annika’s playing career was legendary and she is recognized in the LPGA and World Golf Halls of Fame. She won 89 career tournaments around the world, including 72 on the LPGA Tour and 10 major championships. Annika was also named the Rolex Player of the Year a record eight times and her 13-under-par 59 remains the only sub-60 score in the history of the LPGA Tour.
ABOUT THE AJGA
The American Junior Golf Association is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to the overall growth and development of young men and women who aspire to earn college golf scholarships through competitive junior golf. The AJGA provides valuable exposure for college golf scholarships and has an annual junior membership (boys and girls, ages 12-19) of more than 7,000 members from 50 states and 60 foreign countries. Through initiatives like the Achieving Competitive Excellence (ACE) Grant, a financial assistance program, and Leadership Links, a service-oriented platform that teaches juniors charitable-giving skills, the AJGA fosters the growth of golf’s next generation.
AJGA alumni have risen to the top of amateur, collegiate and professional golf. Former AJGA juniors have compiled more than 900 victories on the PGA and LPGA Tours. AJGA alumni include Rickie Fowler, Sergio Garcia, Dustin Johnson, Phil Mickelson, Patrick Reed, Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas, Tiger Woods, Paula Creamer, Ariya Jutanugarn, Cristie Kerr, Stacy Lewis, Brittany Lincicome, Anna Nordqvist, Inbee Park and Lexi Thompson.