Annika Sorenstam Transitions From Golf Career To Building Out Business Brand
When Annika Sorenstam 10 years ago this weekend became the first female to play in a PGA Tour event since '45, the experience “likely did even more for Sorenstam's future off the course than on,” according to Mechelle Voepel of ESPNW. But Sorenstam said, "I wasn't thinking that way then, but I was planting a seed. And when I look back at it, I would absolutely say that was one of the aftereffects.” Sorenstam, the “initially shy Swedish golfer, has transformed into ANNIKA, the head of her own business empire.” Her endeavors include “a golf academy, clothing line, golf-course designing business, wine label, fragrance, financial-planning group, charitable foundation and role as an all-purpose golf ambassador.” While the endeavors “would have happened in some form" without playing the PGA Tour event, it gave her “higher name recognition -- an undeniable asset in the entrepreneurial world -- and business connections that might not otherwise have been made.” Sorenstam also is “an exemplary role model for her fellow athletes in figuring out their lives after their playing careers end." Her role is “particularly noteworthy in women's athletics because there aren't many other examples.” Sorenstam's role models “for her multifaceted business were all male" in golfers Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, Tom Watson, Gary Player and Greg Norman. Various LPGA “standouts, including Nancy Lopez, have had specific business ties -- usually with equipment/clothing -- during and after their careers.” But there is really “no female athlete who has attempted something with the scope and depth of the ANNIKA brand.” Sorenstam said, "I don't know if my pursuits now are going to help somebody else down the road do the same things. But, hopefully, they will. I want athletes to see that there is so much more than just your playing career" (ESPNW.com, 5/22).