Originally created 10/06/04

Annika covers all of the basics



Ernie Els was intrigued when he saw the cover of the book, showing Annika Sorenstam looming large with a club over her shoulder and a smile on her face.

He flipped through the pages and liked what he saw.

"I'll read this," Els said. "She does a lot of good things with her swing. Her basics are excellent."

He was looking at Golf Annika's Way, which Gotham Books is releasing this week. Sorenstam wrote the instructional book with help from swing coach Henri Reis, longtime Swedish Golf Federation coach Pia Nilsson, trainer Kai Fusser and the editors of Golf magazine.

The purpose is to take readers inside her Hall-of-Fame career - 53 victories on the LPGA Tour, seven major championships, the career Grand Slam, the only woman to shoot 59, and how she coped with the pressure as the first woman in 58 years to compete on the PGA Tour.

Els' unsolicited endorsement was important.

While there are plenty of instruction books on the market, very few have been written by women. Sorenstam is the most famous female golfer in the world, one of those rare athletes known by one name. Still, she said she believes her book can appeal to more than just women.

"I think it's for everyone," Sorenstam said. "I think it will help the average golfer, somebody who understands a little bit of the game and wants to get better."

Sorenstam never realized she knew so much about the swing.

She describes herself as a feel player, and having played golf more than half her life, the swing comes naturally to her. Only when she went into the details, from hitting the driver to holing a few putts, did she appreciate how so many working parts fit together.

"It was amazing when we started to get into the instruction part of it," she said. "I had to express or explain something. I had to write it down, go step by step and find ways to make this easy. A lot of these things come naturally to me. But as a beginner, it's important to get down to the basics."

She never relied on instruction books as a kid in Sweden because she had a coach. But writing an instruction book of her own?

"I've read a few of them, but I always felt like they were so complicated," Sorenstam said. "I wanted there to be a lot of pictures in this book, and easy explanations ... I wanted to see examples - yes, do this; no, don't do that."