Annika Sorenstam and the American Junior Golf Association are combining efforts to create The ANNIKA Invitational, an invitation-only event featuring the top 60 girls from around the world, the AJGA announced Tuesday. Held at Ginn Reunion Resort on the Independence (Watson) Course, the event will take place Jan. 16-19, 2009.
Sorenstam will be involved in the tournament in every way, including conducting clinics and educational activities for the participants.
Rolex Watch USA, a longtime supporter of both Sorenstam and the AJGA, and the LPGA will be tournament partners.
The event will be hosted by The ANNIKA Foundation. Its mission is to enrich the quality of life through the development of sports and physical fitness programs, provide resources that encourage participation and provide access to sports and physical fitness programs and/or to provide access and increase youth participation in the game of golf and to help aspiring junior golfers realize their potential by providing resources, new playing opportunities and experiences.
Proceeds from the event will be used to endow an Achieving Competitive Excellence (ACE) Grant in Sorenstam’s name. The ACE Grant program was created by the AJGA in 2003 to ensure competitive golf opportunities were available to all young golfers regardless of their financial resources. Since the program’s inception, the AJGA has awarded 255 ACE Grants to 170 juniors totaling nearly $937,000.
The tournament field will be selected using the Polo Golf Rankings along with select international invitees to be determined.
“I couldn’t be more thrilled to be hosting this AJGA event,” said Sorenstam. “My intention has always been to help give back to the game of golf that has given me so much. By providing these juniors a chance to learn about competition, health and nutrition and the camaraderie in golf, we are truly seeing the mission of the ANNIKA Foundation come to life.”
Sorenstam’s ongoing playing career is legendary. She has won 87 professional tournaments around the world, 72 of those coming on the LPGA Tour, including 10 major championships. The LPGA and World Golf Hall of Famer is known around the world by one name, Annika, and she is building an impressive group of businesses around the ANNIKA brand. These include her own foundation, academy, clothing line, course designs, tournaments she hosts, and most recently, annikablog.com. Sorenstam was also recently named a USGA ambassador.
A Junior-Am Fundraising Tournament, similar to an LPGA Tour Pro-Am, will be held Friday, Jan. 16.
The first round of The ANNIKA Invitational will take place January 17 with a tournament cookout and ANNIKA clinic held after play at the ANNIKA Academy. On January 18, the second round will be followed by an ANNIKA Educational Activity. Final-round action will take place January 19 on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.
“It is truly an honor for the AJGA to partner with Annika Sorenstam on this special girls’ tournament,” said Stephen Hamblin, AJGA executive director. “It is a rare opportunity for young players to learn from a Hall of Famer who is committed to sharing her passion for the game with golf’s next generation. It is sure to be a lifetime experience that these girls will never forget.”
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, the largest Association of its kind, has an annual junior membership (boys and girls ages 12-18) of more than 5,000 junior golfers from 49 states and 30 foreign countries.
Titleist, the AJGA’s National Sponsor, has been the catalyst and driving force behind the Association’s success since 1989. Rolex Watch USA, which is in its third decade of support, became the inaugural AJGA Premier Partner in 2004. In 2007, after 12 years of support, Polo Ralph Lauren became the AJGA’s second Premier Partner.
AJGA alumni have risen to the top of amateur, collegiate and professional golf. More than 160 former AJGA juniors currently play on the PGA and LPGA Tours and have compiled more than 300 wins. AJGA alumni include Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Jim Furyk, Stewart Cink, Davis Love III, Cristie Kerr, Pat Hurst, Paula Creamer, Brittany Lincicome, Morgan Pressel and Julieta Granada.
For more information, please contact Tonya Oskarson (firstname.lastname@example.org) in the AJGA Sponsorship Department at (678) 425-1743