The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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The odd woman out on PGA Tour

Tokyo: Swede Annika Sorenstam says curiosity drove her to contest the Colonial Classic later this month, where she will become the first woman to take on the men in a PGA Tour event in 58 years.

“Curiosity was probably the biggest factor,” the 32-year-old said on Wednesday before her appearance at the Nichirei Cup World Ladies tournament in Tokyo this week.

“For the Colonial, I plan to play conservative and... smart off the tee. Level par for the week would be good. I have no idea where that will put me but I think I can expect that of myself.”

But Sorenstam, the leading female player in the world, insisted she would not be going to Fort Worth in Texas simply to make up the numbers. “One of the reasons I chose the course was that it’s not just about power and strength,” said Sorenstam, whose average driving distance is listed at 275 yards, just three shorter than defending Colonial champion Nick Price.

“I have played the course once and I liked it very much. It’s very narrow and is total strategy off the tee. It’s more about putting the ball in the right place.

“You have got to be very good with your irons on your approach shots and that’s what I believe my strengths are.”

Sorenstam, who won 13 tournaments worldwide last year, will be the first woman to play on the PGA Tour since Babe Zaharias contested the 1945 Los Angeles Open.

But even an historic victory at the par-70 Colonial Country Club would not persuade her to challenge the men on a regular basis, said Sorenstam. “I believe that I have got a chance at the Colonial. Otherwise I wouldn’t go. But for me, personally, this is a one-time opportunit.,”

“I do want to see how good I am against the best men in the world on a course that I think I can handle. About 95 percent of the courses (on the PGA Tour) I wouldn’t stand a chance on.”

“It will be a totally different story — my first time. I’m not worried about the golf. I think the hardest part for me will be to handle everything around it,” she said.

“But my priority is still to the LPGA Tour. ”

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