American Century Championship
Friday, July 9, 2021
Lake Tahoe, Nevada, USA
THE MODERATOR: We’re joined by Annika Sorenstam. Take us through your round today. Nice job. You ended up with 20 —
ANNIKA SORENSTAM: 23.
THE MODERATOR: You’re right in the hunt.
ANNIKA SORENSTAM: It was an okay round. I think I drove it quite well. And I made a few silly mistakes out there; but luckily I finished with birdie-birdie. So I got some points towards the end there. It was a fun day. I played with some great players. Obviously Tony and Brian, super nice guys. And we had a lot of fun. I enjoyed it. The greens are — they’re tricky here and some of the hole locations, you’ve really got to be on the safe side or the right side. And some of the putts I had to be a little more tentative. So just kind of scares you a little bit. But overall I would say I scraped it around, luckily, but have a few things to work on and hopefully I can fine tune it the next two days.
Q: How does it feel after a few years off in a media room among the top of the leaderboard?
ANNIKA SORENSTAM: I’m a little rusty, I guess. Certain things you keep on practicing. I’ve not been practicing this part. But it’s nice that you invited me back, thank you very much. And like I said, this tournament, I just love it. I really do. The fans were incredible today. And the atmosphere is just incredible. I forgot how it really it really is.
I’ve been coming as a spectator the last few years with some friends on a boat. But it’s so different to stand inside the ropes on 17 and now hit the shot with the music blasting and people cheering. It’s a lot of fun and it’s a fine line when you’re focused, trying to be in the zone, and then you’re just trying to absorb the atmosphere and laugh and high-five and kind of interact with the fans.
Q: I heard there were a couple of wedges you didn’t hit the way you wanted today, which was unusual for you.
ANNIKA SORENSTAM: I’ve been practicing quite a bit on my wedges. Today it just didn’t sit at all. So I’m going to hit a few putts now maybe hit a few wedge shots and get the feel. I made a silly bogey with the wedge in my hand, actually twice.
I need to fine tune that, because I’m driving it quite well. I’m going to hit a lot of wedges. I need to hit them close and get more birdies the next two days.
Q: We just saw Mike Modano holed out for the first albatross in tournament history. It was 10 points in the last hole. He’s now tied for the lead at 25.
ANNIKA SORENSTAM: That’s really cool. What a finish. Quite the crowd pleaser for sure. I’ve never really witnessed an albatross myself. My sister’s actually had one. I didn’t play with her when she did, but she holed her second shot on a par-5. And it’s something very unusual, fun to do it in front of the crowds and on TV and in this tournament.
Q: How does it feel to be competitive with these guys right now? We talked a little bit yesterday. You felt pretty confident. But they’re hitting the ball big. They’re big guys and whatnot. And you’re playing your game.
ANNIKA SORENSTAM: They are big guys. I played with, especially Tony, today, I think he hit his rescue probably 60 yards farther than I and I had a good drive and that was his rescue. He’s seeing another part of the course that I’m not seeing. But on the other hand I’m very pleased the way I’m driving it. I’m hitting fairways. I don’t feel like the course is that long for me. But I am playing my own game. I just can’t look at that and then try and pretend I have anything what they have as far as power goes.
So my strategy is fairways and greens and hopefully make some putts and that’s really all I have in my bag at this time in my life.
Q: Sure seems like you’re a favorite out here. When you were introduced on the first tee, that was a very nice reception you received. Seems like everybody’s loving having you back.
ANNIKA SORENSTAM: It was very heartwarming and I think a lot are from Incline, neighbors and friends and families. We have some loud ones. But kidding aside, it really feels really nice to walk there. The first tee was special. But even throughout the other holes. They’re so positive and cheering on and encouraging. It’s really nice to see that. It’s not something I’m used to now. And to go up there it makes me want to play well and hit good shots. I’m thankful they came out and are watching and hopefully they’ll have a good time as well.
Q: We’ve got the Curry family affair going on this week. Looks like there’s a Sorenstam affair too. Your husband is on the bag and we’ve got a young man in here.
ANNIKA SORENSTAM: Here’s our son, Will. He’s ten. He’s a golf nut, if I may say. He loves the game. But he loves sports. You can imagine this week for somebody that’s so into sports to see his idols play the game of golf that he loves so much.
It’s really a family affair. Our daughter is sitting in the tent right now with some friends. And they probably think that this is normal golf tournaments. I tried to tell them this is not a normal golf tournament but enjoy as much as you can. They had a magician in there doing tricks for them. It’s really a vacation, and we’re just enjoying every minute and every second and thankful to be here.