News

Sorenstam extends top AJGA girls tournament for five years

Hall of Famer Annika Sorenstam, ANNIKA Foundation will host ANNIKA Invitational USA presented by Rolex through 2025
Jasmine Koo - Annika Sorenstam Clinic - 2020 - ANNIKA Inv USA (145).JPG

January 21, 2020

Annika Sorenstam, a LPGA and World Golf Hall of Famer and arguably one of the biggest champions of women’s golf worldwide, will continue to host the ANNIKA Invitational USA presented by Rolex through 2025.

The invitation-only event hosted by the American Junior Golf Association (AJGA) will be extended for another five years to feature the top female golfers in the world. The tournament field is annually selected in January using the Rolex AJGA Rankings and champions from Annika's five other international girls’ Invitationals.

"Our team is honored to continue the ANNIKA Foundation’s partnership with the AJGA,” Annika said. “The AJGA’s support has been instrumental, as we’ve grown this event into one of the best in the world and are excited to take it to even greater heights in the coming years.”

Each year, Annika is deeply involved in all facets of the Invitational. Annika and her family annually get to know the players at the World Golf Hall of Fame Dinner, the ANNIKA Clinic sponsored by Rolex, “More than Golf” First Tee of North Florida Clinic, and shake hands on 18 green after the final round. She is a staple at the Callaway Golf Junior-Am, sending off the participants and awarding top teams after the round. Beyond her presence, it is her individual connections with the ANNIKA Invitational field that set the event apart.

The event is funded with support from mutual partner Rolex and the ANNIKA Foundation, which provides opportunities in women’s golf while teaching young people the importance of off-the-course priorities like personal development, education, fitness and nutrition, physical well-being and giving back.

Proceeds from the AJGA event have endowed an Achieving Competitive Excellence (ACE) Grant in the ANNIKA Foundation name, given to high school grad Trinity King in 2019 before she began her college career at TCU. 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.

Over the years, more than 2,000 talented AJGA junior golfers have turned $4 million in junior golf opportunities into $15 million in college scholarships. Six juniors competing in the 2020 ANNIKA Invitational USA presented by Rolex are ACE Grant recipients including 2019 Rolex Junior Player of the Year Rose Zhang.

Beyond the AJGA Invitational, the ANNIKA Foundation developed the game around the world, growing to five other international junior events on four other continents:

  • ANNIKA Cup (Sweden)
  • ANNIKA Invitational at Mission Hills (China)
  • ANNIKA Invitational Europe (Sweden)
  • ANNIKA Invitational Latin America (TBD for 2020)
  • ANNIKA Invitational Australasia (New Zealand)

The ANNIKA Award presented by Stifel is annually given to the most outstanding female collegiate golfer as a part of the ANNIKA Intercollegiate presented by 3M in the fall. In total in 2019, the Annika Foundation served more than 600 girls and young women from 60+ countries.

“Annika’s support has been tremendous for golf by directly developing the next generation of golfers,” said Jason Etzen, AJGA Chief Business Officer. “Her Foundation represents a direct investment in the future of women’s golf at all levels, but it is Annika’s personal relationship to the competition, ‘More Than Golf’ lifestyle, and long-term commitment to personal growth that is truly remarkable.”

First begun in 2009, the ANNIKA Invitational USA presented by Rolex has crowned 12 champions in its 13-year history including five LPGA Tour players:

  • Angel Yin (2015)
  • Céline Boutier (2011)
  • Victoria Tanco (2010)
  • Simin Feng (2009)
  • 2012 champion and 2013 Rolex Junior Player of the Year Alison Lee went on to become the only AJGA / ANNIKA Invitational champion to also win top women’s college golf honors in the ANNIKA Award presented by Stifel.

Top college champions include:

  • UCLA grad and the event’s only two-time champion Bethany Wu (2013, 2014)
  • Stanford’s Brooke Seay (2017) and Angelina Ye (2018)
  • Duke’s Jaravee Boonchant (2016)
  • LSU’s Ingrid Linblad (2019)

In 2020, Benedetta Moresco of Caldogno, Vicenza, became the event’s first Italian champion.

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 also serves as an AJGA National Chairman.

ABOUT THE ANNIKA FOUNDATION

Annika created the ANNIKA Foundation (www.annikafoundation.org) 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, and an endowment of the AJGA’s ACE Grant.

It annually conducts six major golf events for aspiring junior girls: the ANNIKA Invitational USA presented by Rolex at the World Golf Village in St. Augustine, Florida; ANNIKA Invitational at Mission Hills in China; ANNIKA Invitational Europe and ANNIKA Cup in Sweden; the ANNIKA Invitational Latin America and the ANNIKA Invitational Australasia in New Zealand. Moreover, with the support of 3M, the Haskins Commission and Golfweek, the Foundation created the ANNIKA Award presented by 3M, which is given annually to the best collegiate female golfer. Since 2014, the Foundation has also annually hosted the ANNIKA Intercollegiate presented by 3M, a college tournament featuring 12 of the top Division I schools. Each year, the Foundation also conducts several “Share My Passion” grassroots clinics designed to introduce kids to the game.