FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
May 16, 2019
Winner of the 2018 ANNIKA Award Presented by Stifel, Maria Fassi, Receives Sponsor’s Exemption into The Evian Championship
(ORLANDO, Fla.) – The ANNIKA Foundation– golf Hall-of-Famer Annika Sorenstam’s charitable organization and the Fred Haskins Commission – announces the winner of the 2018 ANNIKA Award presented by Stifel, Maria Fassi, has received a sponsor’s invitation to play in The Evian Championship, July 25-28, 2019.
Fassi, who in addition to winning the ANNIKA Award was named the SEC’s 2018 Women’s Golfer of the Year as a junior at Arkansas, has taken her play to even greater heights in 2019. She has won seven tournaments and, perhaps most notably, captured the golf world’s attention with her runner-up finish at the inaugural Augusta National Women’s Amateur. Currently ranked No. 3 in the World Amateur Golf Rankings (WAGR), Fassi has also qualified to participate in her fourth-consecutive U.S. Women’s Open.
“We are delighted to have Maria among the players who will tee off in The Evian Championship on 25 July,” says Franck Riboud, Chairman of The Evian Championship and Honorary Chairman of Danone. “This wildcard is well deserved, given her college golf performance during her most recent seasons and her fantastic result at the inaugural Augusta National Women’s Amateur. She will be able to express her full potential at the major among the leading women players in the world on a course she is already familiar with, having competed in the Arnold Palmer Cup 2018.”
“I’ve gotten to know Maria a bit over the last few years, as she has won not only our ANNIKA Award, but also the individual and team competition at the 2017 ANNIKA Intercollegiate presented by 3M,” says Annika, whose ANNIKA Foundation first bestowed the ANNIKA Award in 2014 in conjunction with the Fred Haskins Commission. “She possesses a complete game and has many years of professional success ahead of her.”
Adds Riboud: “Maria’s invitation resonates perfectly with our ambitious policy, nurtured via The Evian Championship's ecosystem, to support and bring to the fore a new generation of champions.”
Celebrating its 25th anniversary in 2019, The Evian Championship has moved from its traditional September date and will now be held at the height of Europe’s summer season. One-hundred-twenty of the world’s best players will be challenged by a reshaped golf course at the renowned Evian Resort Golf Club.
The ANNIKA Award and The Evian Championship have also agreed that the winner of the 2019 ANNIKA Award will receive an exemption into the 2020 Evian Championship. The winner, who will be announced live on Golf Channel’s “Golf Central” on Tuesday, June 4 at 6 p.m., will now have an entire year to prepare for the event.
The ANNIKA Foundation is devoted to growing the game of golf around the world. It annually hosts six girls-only invitational tournaments on five continents: the ANNIKA Invitational USA presented by Rolex, the ANNIKA Invitational Europe and ANNIKA Cup (Sweden), ANNIKA Invitational Mission Hills (China), the ANNIKA Invitational Latin America (Uruguay) and the ANNIKA Invitational Australasia (New Zealand). At the college level, it hosts the ANNIKA Intercollegiate presented by 3M and annually bestows the ANNIKA Award to most outstanding female Division I golfer as voted on by peers, coaches and media.
Since the inaugural Foundation tournament – the 2009 ANNIKA Invitational USA – 45 ANNIKA event alumnae have earned LPGA cards. Twenty-eight alumnae competed in the 2019 ANA Inspiration.
For more information, please visit www.annikafoundation.org.
About The Evian Championship
As it turns 25, The Evian Championship makes its big midsummer comeback. From 25 to 28 July 2019, the only Grand Slam stage in Continental Europe welcomes the leading 120 women golfers in the world, who are selected according to very tough eligibility criteria. This birthday edition of the Major is of course one of sporting excellence thanks to the quality of the field and its course, with its overall prize purse now $4,100,000.
In terms of the course, the Evian Resort Golf Club is even more spectacular with hole 13 shortened to a par 4 and hole 18 reshaped into a par 5, offering a venue to match the event’s status, surrounded by nature in its summer splendor.
The 25th anniversary is also the opportunity to highlight The Evian Championship’s societal role and its steadfast involvement in creating exposure for women’s world golf, working closing with the athletes, the way it has always been since the tournament was created by Antoine and Franck Riboud in 1994. A driving force that also prevails through its strong commitment to young players to bring the talents of tomorrow to the fore, visible when awarding wildcards or at dedicated events (Evian Championship Juniors Cup, Haribo Kids Cup, Evian Junior Event).
In addition to the competition itself, the 25th birthday is a big celebration of golf for all of the spectators, from discerning fans to tourists, curious to take part in a global sporting event while on holiday. New packages including the Family Pass or Group Pass will enable everyone to experience the tournament, the sidelines and exclusive events in the best possible conditions. A unique experience in a festive, summer atmosphere.
About the ANNIKA Foundation
Annika created the ANNIKA Foundation to provide opportunities in women’s golf at the junior, collegiate and professional levels while teaching young people the importance of living a healthy, active lifestyle through fitness and nutrition. The Foundation has partnered with key organizations to promote healthy, active lifestyles for children, including SPARK, Florida Hospital for Children in support of its Healthy 100 Kids initiative and The First Tee in development of the Nine Healthy Habits curriculum for children.
It annually conducts six major golf events for aspiring junior girls: the ANNIKA Invitational USA presented by Rolex at the World Golf Village in St. Augustine, Florida; ANNIKA Invitational at Mission Hills in China; ANNIKA Invitational Europe and ANNIKA Cup in Sweden; and, in association with the R&A, the ANNIKA Invitational Latin America and ANNIKA Invitational Australasia. In 2013, the Foundation’s reach extended to the collegiate ranks with the ANNIKA Award presented by Stifel (awarded to most outstanding female NCAA Division I golfer) and ANNIKA Intercollegiate presented by 3M (12 team, 54-hole event in Minnesota). SPARK grants to schools, financial support of Healthy 100 Kids, endowing an AJGA ACE Grant, and the “Share My Passion” Golf Clinics are other areas of emphasis.