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Annika Sorenstam will tee it up again for real on LPGA

Annika Sorenstam and family at 2021 Diamond Resorts Tournament of Champions
Annika Sorenstam had the support of her family – husband Mike, son Will and daughter Ava – while competing in the celebrity division of the 2021 Diamond Resorts Tournament of Champions in Orlando, Fla.

With women’s tour set to compete Feb. 25-28 at her home course, Sorenstam commits to Gainbridge LPGA at Lake Nona in Orlando

Annika Sorenstam got bitten by the competition bug again recently, and she knows the perfect cure.

In two weeks, Sorenstam will make her first start in an LPGA event in 13 years when the women’s tour visits her home course in Orlando, Fla., the LPGA announced Tuesday. The Gainbridge LPGA will be played Feb. 25-28 at Lake Nona, a high-end residential community near the Orlando airport, southeast of downtown. Sorenstam and her family live on the 16th hole of the 1986 Tom Fazio design, and she plays the course with her husband and two children as much as her business obligations allow.

The Gainbridge LPGA will be the first official tournament since 2008 for Sorenstam, 50, whose 72 LPGA titles include 10 major championships. She is a 2003 World Golf Hall of Fame inductee.

“The members kept asking me to play, and I figured, Why not?” she said on Twitter.

Sorenstam hopes to make her senior debut this summer at the U.S. Senior Women’s Open, but the tournament dates were moved to July 29-Aug. 1 and overlap with the Olympics. She recently was named president of the International Golf Federation and intends to be in Tokyo for the Olympic golf events.

In writing for an LPGA newsletter that announced her return to competition, Sorenstam conceded that much has changed in her life she retired from the tour in 2008.

“A lot has changed for the better during that time, most notably the birth of our two children. Ava and Will are excited to see ‘Mama’ play. I have to admit if this tournament hadn’t moved to our home course, it never would have crossed my mind to enter. But it makes sense to do so, not just because it will be a ‘home game,’ but also because my goal, schedule permitting, is to play in the U.S. Senior Women’s Open later this summer. To work toward that goal, I have realized that I need more tournament reps to have a chance to reach my potential. I’m not expecting much, but I look forward to the challenge!”

In a text message to Golfweek’s Beth Ann Nichols for a report on Golfweek.com, Mike McGee, Sorenstam’s husband and business manager, said his wife was “nervous and rusty” three weeks ago before she competed in the celebrity division of the Diamond Resorts Tournament of Champions. A month earlier, she teamed with her father in the exhibition PNC Championship, formerly known as the Father-Son.

“If the event was down the street or across town, she wouldn’t even have considered,” McGee said of the Lake Nona event. “The fact that it is literally in our backyard and the members have been asking her nonstop, she decided to play. Our kids are excited, which is what matters.”

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