Annika Sorenstam and the ANNIKA Foundation will continue support of the American Junior Golf Association through an extension of the ANNIKA Invitational, an invitation-only event featuring the top junior female golfers from around the world, the AJGA announced Tuesday. The tournament will now be extended through 2020.
Each year, Annika is deeply involved in all facets of the Invitational. Annika and her family annually get to know the players at the welcome dinner and the ANNIKA Clinic sponsored by Rolex, and shake players’ hands on the 18th green after the final round. She is also a staple at the Callaway Golf Junior-Am, sending off the participants and awarding them after the round. Beyond her presence, it is her individual connections with the ANNIKA Invitational field that set the event apart.
“Since 2009, we’ve enjoyed an exceptional partnership with the AJGA,” said Annika. “With its help, the ANNIKA Invitational has quickly grown into one of the world’s most prestigious girls’ tournaments. We’re excited to continue our joint mission to make ANNIKA Invitational participants successful on and off the golf course.”
The event is hosted by the ANNIKA Foundation which provides opportunities in women’s golf at the junior, collegiate and professional levels while teaching young people the importance of living a healthy, active lifestyle through fitness and nutrition. Through the activities surrounding the event, the ANNIKA Foundation promotes Annika’s “More Than Golf” philosophy during the event.
Beyond the Invitational, the ANNIKA Foundation has found other ways to continue to develop the game. Since the inception of the ANNIKA Invitational in 2009, the ANNIKA Foundation has added four additional international junior events – ANNIKA Cup (Sweden), ANNIKA Invitational at Mission Hills (China), ANNIKA Invitational Europe (Sweden) and ANNIKA Invitational Latin America (Argentina). The ANNIKA Award presented by 3M is annually given to the most outstanding female collegiate golfer.
Proceeds from the event have been used to endow an Achieving Competitive Excellence (ACE) Grant in the ANNIKA Foundation's name. The ACE Grant program was created by the AJGA in 2003 to ensure opportunities were available to junior golfers with skill who lacked the financial resources required to compete in national junior golf. Since the program's inception, the AJGA has awarded 1,552 ACE Grants to qualifying juniors totaling over $3 million. In 2017, Golf Channel highlighted the ANNIKA Foundation’s ACE Grant endowment to Athena Yang, now a freshman at Mississippi State.
Each year the ANNIKA Invitational field is selected using the AJGA Rankings, along with invitees from the international ANNIKA Invitationals.
Prior to her role as a mentor and advocate for female golfers, Annika’s playing career was legendary and she is recognized in the LPGA and World Golf Halls of Fame. She won 89 career tournaments around the world, including 72 on the LPGA Tour and 10 major championships. Annika was also named the Rolex Player of the Year a record eight times and her 13-under-par 59 remains the only sub-60 score in the history of the LPGA Tour.
“Annika’s support has been tremendous for junior golf and directly develops the next generation of golfers,” said Stephen Hamblin, AJGA executive director. “Alison Lee, the inaugural winner of the ANNIKA Award Presented by 3M, won the ANNIKA Invitational in 2012. She is now a star on the LPGA Tour and is hosting her own AJGA tournament. It’s an incredible opportunity for young players to learn from a Hall of Famer.”
About the ANNIKA Foundation
Annika created the ANNIKA Foundation (www.annikasorenstam.com/foundation) to provide opportunities in women’s golf at the junior, collegiate and professional levels while teaching young people the importance of living a healthy, active lifestyle through fitness and nutrition. The Foundation has partnered with key organizations to promote healthy, active lifestyles for children, including SPARK, Florida Hospital for Children in support of its Healthy 100 Kids initiative and The First Tee in development of the Nine Healthy Habits curriculum for children.
It annually conducts five major golf events for aspiring junior girls: the ANNIKA Invitational USA in Orlando, Fla.; ANNIKA Invitational at Mission Hills in China; ANNIKA Invitational Europe and ANNIKA Cup in Sweden; and, in association with The R&A, the ANNIKA Invitational Latin America in Argentina. In 2013, the Foundation’s reach extended to the collegiate ranks with the ANNIKA Award Presented by 3M (awarded to most outstanding female NCAA Division I golfer) and ANNIKA Intercollegiate Presented by 3M (12 team, 54-hole event in Minnesota). SPARK grants to schools, financial support of Healthy 100 Kids, endowing an AJGA ACE Grant, ANNIKA Junior Day and the “Share My Passion” Clinic in partnership with LPGA*USGA Girls Golf are other initiatives.
About the AJGA
The American Junior Golf Association is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to the overall growth and development of young men and women who aspire to earn college golf scholarships through competitive junior golf. The AJGA provides valuable exposure for college golf scholarships, and has an annual junior membership (boys and girls, ages 12-19) of more than 6,600 members from 50 states and 55 foreign countries. Through initiatives like the Achieving Competitive Excellence (ACE) Grant, a financial assistance program, and Leadership Links, a service-oriented platform that teaches juniors charitable-giving skills, the AJGA fosters the growth of golf’s next generation.
TaylorMade-adidas Golf became the AJGA’s National Sponsor in 2016 after more than 25 years of support. Rolex, which is in its fourth decade of AJGA sponsorship, became the inaugural AJGA Premier Partner in 2004. In 2007, after 12 years of support, Ralph Lauren became the AJGA's second Premier Partner.
AJGA alumni have risen to the top of amateur, collegiate and professional golf. Former AJGA juniors have compiled more than 600 victories on the PGA and LPGA Tours. AJGA alumni include Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Jordan Spieth, Rickie Fowler, Bubba Watson, Webb Simpson, Sergio Garcia, Hunter Mahan, Dustin Johnson, Patrick Reed, Zach Johnson, Justin Thomas, Stacy Lewis, Ariya Jutanugarn , Alison Lee, Lexi Thompson, Inbee Park, Paula Creamer, Brittany Lincicome, Cristie Kerr and Morgan Pressel.