Originally created 11/21/02

Sorenstam cooks up another stunning season



WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- Annika Sorenstam wants to go to culinary school after the LPGA Tour season ends this week.

That would be the least she could do for Karrie Webb, who last year promised to "eat my hat" if Sorenstam continued to win eight tournaments every season.

Pass the salt.

Sorenstam is at 10 victories and counting heading into the season-ending ADT Championship at Trump International, and that doesn't include a victory in the Australian Ladies Masters, where she beat Webb in a playoff, or the Swedish Open.

"I've got a hat for her," Sorenstam said Wednesday.

As far as encores go, this one was off the charts.

Sorenstam reached the top of her game last year by winning eight tournaments, a major championship and breaking the record for lowest scoring average. All that did was motivate to work harder, get stronger, make more putts and win more tournaments.

"I don't know if it was realistic, but I thought I could do it," Sorenstam said.

The season started with Sorenstam winning the Takefugi Classic in Hawaii nine months ago, and the 32-year-old Swede has been relentless.

- She has not gone more than three tournaments without winning, and has finished out of the top 10 only three times in 22 tournaments.

- She became the first woman to win at least 10 times on tour since Carol Mann and Kathy Whitworth in 1968. A victory at Trump, a perfect bookend for her season, would give her the most victories since Mickey Wright in 1964.

- Sorenstam is on pace to shatter the scoring average she set last year. At 68.69 going into the ADT Championship, she could break her record of 69.42 by shooting no worse than 82 all four rounds.

"It's been incredible and amazing to watch," Webb said. "With the exception of missing the cut at the British Open, she contended in almost every event. I don't know where she finds that motivation to be that pump up that much every week."

Some attribute it to Sorenstam's single-minded approach.

She spent hours on the practice greens during the offseason, and is especially proud of a workout routine that has featured kickboxing, swimming, lifting weights and the usual assortment of aerobic activity.

The result is a body that is the strongest in women's golf. Sorenstam says her strength and stamina allows her to control her muscles so she can practice better and longer.

And she keeps separating herself from the rest of the LPGA Tour.

Se Ri Pak won five times, including the LPGA Championship, and has won nearly $1.7 million - a great year that has been lost in Sorenstam's mammoth wake.

"Her accomplishments are at time incomprehensible," LPGA Tour commissioner Ty Votaw said. "The question is already percolating: Is Annika the best ever?"

Perhaps the questions should be: How much better can she get?

"Right now, golf is my life," Sorenstam said. "I want to do this now, when I have a chance to do it. Who knows how long this will last? I want to enjoy the ride as long as I can, until my body breaks down or mentally I've had had enough."

For now, she only wants more.

A statistician at heart, Sorenstam doesn't like the fact she is tied for 70th on tour in sand saves, and she believes her short game can always stand a little improvement.

Most troublesome is her record in the majors - yes, a real problem. All she did was win the Nabisco Championship for the second straight year, finish third in the LPGA Championship and second in the U.S. Women's Open.

Still, she has only four majors among her 41 victories.

"I don't see it as a negative," Sorenstam said. "But it would make it great if I had more majors."

The ADT Championship isn't a major, but it's one of the biggest events on the LPGA Tour with the top 30 players available from the money list.

Webb manhandled Trump International last year, finishing at 9-under 279 for a two-stroke victory over Sorenstam. No one else broke par.

As for culinary school? Sorenstam is serious about that.

She will play only once in the next three months, a one-day exhibition in Mexico with Lorena Ochoa, Jack Nicklaus and David Duval.

Sorenstam loves to cook, and has been sorting through brochures trying to find the right program. She is leaning toward a one-week school in New York, "just enough to test the waters and see if it's something I want to do."

That might be the only way to stop her dominance of women's golf.