In a bold new vision for women’s golf in Europe, ten-time Major winner and World Golf Hall of Famer, Annika Sörenstam, is back on the Ladies European Tour this week and putting her full weight behind the new La Reserva de Sotogrande Invitational tournament.
As part of her ambassadorial role for La Reserva de Sotogrande Invitational, the 89-time tournament champion will be conducting a junior coaching clinic during the week of the tournament, as well as playing in the Pro-Am competition. On top of this, one invitee from her ANNIKA Foundation – whose seven global events provide opportunities in women’s golf at the junior, collegiate and professional levels - will get the opportunity to play in the event.
La Reserva de Sotogrande Invitational, to be played from 16 to 19 May, will mark the first of three visits to Spain for the LET in 2019. Cabell B. Robinson’s design in the Sotogrande resort will play host to the best LET golfers in a tournament that could be crucial in qualifying for the European team that will try to regain the Solheim Cup at Gleneagles in September.
“I’m delighted to be part of this new tournament,” said Annika. “It is crucial that women’s golf gets the support it deserves, and new events such as La Reserva de Sotogrande Invitational play a vital part in helping to provide a platform for the incredible golfers who play on the LET. The more opportunities we create for women in these tournaments the better.”
“It’s a credit to Spain that there are now three LET events and a local tour: that’s how you create the next generation.”
“I used to come to this area, Marbella, Malaga and especially Sotogrande and Valderrama, to spend weeks here with the Swedish national team and I have wonderful memories. This is really where I started to focus on my goal and start dreaming and visualising my life as a professional golfer. It’s come full circle now and to be able to bring my family here and be part of the LET as well is really cool. I took my kids to Puerto Banus yesterday and it’s really nice to come out here to the quieter places and the lifestyle I enjoy.”
The visionary behind the event, Marc Topiol, CEO of Sotogrande S.A. said: “Our purpose here is to create an event which has an aura around family, equality and excellence in women in general - well beyond golf - and I hope that we will be able to make this the Annika tournament for years to come.”
“You have the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill and the Muirfield Village event in Ohio hosted by Jack Nicklaus.”
“It is my goal and hopefully, we will get there and I see no reason why not, that we can have the Annika tournament in La Reserva that becomes an iconic stop in the world of golf and beyond.”
In a press conference ahead of the tournament this week, questions turned to whether Annika had been inspired to make a comeback of her own after Tiger's recent Master's win. “No, not really. It is exciting to see no doubt, to see Tiger winning The Masters which I thought was fantastic. You know, I can look back on what I achieved and be proud. I achieved a lot more than I ever thought I would. I really get a lot of enjoyment out of the foundation work and meeting these girls, working with them. I feel like I have a purpose there and I feel like I’m making a difference.”
She added that 25 of the competitors in the La Reserva de Sotogrande Invitational have been part of the Annika Invitational series of events and that she takes her investment in the development of the players very seriously.
With a world-class venue, a top field and Annika’s involvement, the La Reserva de Sotogrande Invitational is set to be a thrilling success from the very beginning.