Swedish golfer Annika Sorenstam is half way to her goal of a women's golf Grand Slam - winning all four major golf titles in the same year, something no woman - or man - has ever done. Sorenstam will be challenging history when she begins the pursuit of her third major title of 2005 Thursday at the U.S. Women's Open outside of Denver, Colorado.
Annika Sorenstam has already won 62 golf titles, including all four major women's tournaments, and a total of nine major titles during her career. So for a new challenge she publicly announced her goal was to win a "pure" Grand Slam - all four Grand Slam Events in the same year.
Sorenstam captured the Kraft Nabisco Championship in March, and won the LPGA Championship two-weeks ago. But to complete the Grand Slam, the 34-year-old Swede will have to score a victory at this week's U.S. Women's Open at the Cherry Hills Country Club, and win next month's Women's British Open in England. Sorenstam says she likes the pressure.
"You know, I am looking forward to this week," she said. "I feel like I am as ready as I can be and I'm going to have a good time and then we'll see what happens."
No golfer - man or woman - has ever won the first three Grand Slam tournaments of the season.
Her friend, world number-one men's golfer Tiger Woods of the United States, got close. He actually owned all four major men's golf titles at once - the so-called "Tiger Slam." But he did it over the course of two seasons, completing his streak with the 2001 Masters.
Sorenstam wants to go one-step better by winning all four in the same calendar year.
"I set lofty goals and that is the only way for me, right now, to feel motivated and push myself and work really hard and try to get better," she said. "So I know I put myself in this situation but I like it. I want to see if I can handle the challenge. It is going to be a lot of pressure, I mean, mostly it is for myself. You know, this is what it is all about."
At the U.S. Women's Open, Annika Sorenstam will be seeking her 63rd career title and her seventh victory in nine starts this year. At an age when many athletes are starting to slow down, Sorenstam appears to be even more dominant since turning 30 years old. She has captured more titles in her 30's than any other woman.
To put it in perspective, women's golf legend Kathy Whitworth won a record 88 LPGA titles, only 29 of those came in her 30's. Sorenstam has won 39 since turning 30 in 2001 and still has another five and one-half years to add to the total.
How does she do it? Consistency. Annika Sorenstam hits the ball longer off the tee than other women, hits it straighter and plays the game with calculated precision and fearsome concentration and determination. And once she gets ahead, Sorenstam is hard to catch. She has won 41 of 61 tournaments when leading after 54 holes, including all four chances this year.