Annika tourney debuting overseas

Annika Sorenstam has retired from playing golf, but she’s still heavily involved in golf. Her first ANNIKA junior girls-only tournament will debut in China. Here’s more:


Haikou, China – Annika Sorenstam, the most dominant women’s golfer of all-time, announced today (Friday) at Mission Hills Haikou that the first ever junior girls-only tournament to be held in China will take place on the Annika Course at Mission Hills Dongguan in Aug. 2011.

To be organized by Mission Hills China in collaboration with the ANNIKA Foundation, the ANNIKA Invitational at Mission Hills will be a 54-hole stroke-play tournament open to junior female golfers aged 12 to 18 years old of all nationalities in Asia, with a handicap of 24 and below. The top three finishers of the Championship Division will earn entry into the ANNIKA Invitational in the United States, the award-winning American Junior Golf Association event played annually in Orlando, Florida.

The ANNIKA Foundation, a non-profit organization founded by Annika in 2007, created the inaugural ANNIKA Invitational in 2009 at the Reunion Resort in Orlando, Fla., home of the ANNIKA Academy. The tournament attracts the top junior female golfers from around the world and is known for Annika’s hands-on involvement in all tournament activities, including clinics and educational sessions for the participants.

The ANNIKA Invitational at Mission Hills will be modelled similarly and will see Annika and staff of her foundation equally involved with the junior golfers.

Said Annika: “I am very pleased to be working with Mission Hills to help grow the game in China. Mission Hills has done an incredible job developing the game there and we are happy we can work together to support our Foundation’s objectives, which are to offer opportunities to junior golfers and to get children living active, healthy lifestyles. We hope the first internationally played ANNIKA Invitational at Mission Hills will leave a lasting legacy to develop future generations of female golfers here in China.”

Added Tenniel Chu, Executive Director, Mission Hills China: “Mission Hills has a longstanding commitment to the development of golf in Asia and the ANNIKA Invitational is a continuation of that commitment. We look forward to working with Annika, an old friend of Mission Hills, in ensuring that young girls from around the region will learn more about enjoying an active lifestyle and reaching the next level of golf.”

The announcement took place during the inaugural Mission Hills Star Trophy at Mission Hills Haikou. The ground-breaking Star Trophy brings together 20 superstar celebrities and 20 of the world’s biggest golfing names for the first event of its kind ever played in Asia. In addition to the pro-celebrity team event, the professionals will compete for Asia’s richest individual golfing prize of US$1.28 million.

“We are excited that Mission Hills will host the first ever ANNIKA Invitational event outside of the US next year. We are delighted to have announced the historic tournament and the joint partnership between the ANNIKA Foundation with Mission Hills in the presence of so many distinguished guests. We look forward to working with the ANNIKA Foundation to create an unparalleled junior golf tournament and to encourage our people to pick up the golf from young”, said Tenniel Chu, Executive Director, Mission Hills, China.

Annika is the greatest female golfer of our generation and often regarded as the best of all-time. During her 15-year Hall of Fame career, she rewrote the LPGA and Ladies European Tour record books, won countless awards and changed the way women’s golf was played, viewed, and covered. She amassed 89 worldwide professional victories, including 72 LPGA wins, ten of which are Major Championships. Annika stepped away from professional golf after the 2008 season to focus on her family and the ANNIKA brand of businesses, including the ANNIKA Academy, ANNIKA Financial Group, ANNIKA Course Design, the ANNIKA Collection of apparel with Cutter & Buck, signature high-end wines with Wente Vineyards and an online retail shop, In 2008, Annika joined Arnold Palmer as only the second Ambassador of the United States Golf Association, and in 2009, along with Jack Nicklaus, she was named a Global Ambassador by the International Golf Federation and aided in the successful bid for golf in the 2016 Olympic Games.

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About Jill Painter

Jill Painter is a sports columnist for the Los Angeles News Group, covering everything from the Dodgers, Lakers, Clippers, USC, UCLA, Kings, golf and all human interest stories in sports.