Annika Sorenstam, once the Tiger Woods of ladies golf, went quietly in her final major, finishing in a tie for 24th. In an interview after her round, she said that she thought she still had the skills, but no longer had the desire.
“It is what it is,” she said.
When I hear an athlete say that they’ve lost the desire, I think of Alexander the Great, who wept because there were no more worlds to conquer. Once you have achieved the pinnacle of athletic success, I suppose that there is not much left to drive you.
I wonder: does Tiger also go out on his own terms? Does he break Sam Snead’s PGA Victories record, and Jack’s Majors record and then quit as Annika did? Or does he continue to pile up the numbers. I’ve thought for several years—reading into things Tiger has said—that he won’t play as long as golf fans might like. I can’t see him playing in his 40s, satisfied to take the occasional victory from one of the young guns who he has inspired. Jack did, but he reportedly had money problems. Tiger doesn’t have that to worry about. His billion should last his lifetime, and of his children, grandchildren and longer.
I’m going to miss Sorenstam on the LPGA scene. I have loved the way she plays and comports herself before, during and after tournaments. I’m just sorry I never got to see her play in person.
And at the risk of sounding sexist, I’ve always thought she was an attractive lady. Not in the bombshell fashion of Natalie Gulbis or some of the lolitas on tour these days, but with a girl next door sort of look. She also was clearly comfortable with herself, as was proven with the now-famous near nude Annika did for Golf For Women.
Eighty five wins. Ten majors. That’s a heckuva career.