WEST PALM BEACH, FLAnnika Sorenstam, the absolutely adorable doll of golf's lighter, gentler side, and a true lady who has absolutely charmed ladies' golf fans since joining the always-heartwarming Ladies' Professional Golf Association Tour in 1994, capped off another sensational 10-victory year and became the first lady in history to win two straight ADT Championships For Ladies.
Miss Sorenstam, hitting from the ladies' tee throughout the tournament, finished with a 6-under 282 for a two-stroke ladies' victory, just barely holding off little ladies Soo-Yun Kang, Michele Redman, and Lisolette Neumann. "I thought I had a chance to catch up to her, but there was no stopping that lady today," Neumann said. "All you can do is lower your eyes demurely, curtsy, and say 'Congratulations, ma'am,' in a meek tone of voice befitting a lady."
Sweeping all the major lady-awards for a fifth year and moving within 22 ladies' wins of the all-time ladies' record, Miss Sorenstam is carving out her place in ladies' history alongside legendary golfers such as Nancy Lopez and Kathy Whitworth, both also ladies.
Miss Sorenstam, who took up the sport of ladies' golf when she was just a little lady at 12 years old, has been a feminine golfing inspiration to a whole new generation of ladies, including young lady Michelle Wie and ladies' tour rookie Paula Creamer, whose play proves her a lady despite her brief, unladylike tiff with Miss Sorenstam over an 18th-hole drop in the ladies' first round of the ADT Championship.
As the lady champion, Miss Sorenstam is expected to reap her proportional rewards. In addition to her career earnings of over $2.5 milliona fraction of Tiger Woods' $40 million-plus once thought unimaginablemale golf insiders expect Miss Sorenstam to receive attention from sponsors such as ladies-wear companies, ladies' hygiene product manufacturers, and other markets of which regular golfers are ignorant or only dimly aware.
"She has proven that the ladies can play golf just like men, if not, of course, actually with men," Professional Golf Association Tour executive vice president Edward L. Moorhouse said of Miss Sorenstam, who in 2003 became the first lady to play on the real PGA Tour since true ladies' lady Babe Didrikson Zaharias, the grande dame [big lady] of golf, did so in 1945. "This lady golfer truly deserves our admiration in the form of the highest honor men can grant her: the honorary title 'First Lady Of Golf.'"
Of course, Sorenstam's honors will include a polite and proper phone call from Laura Bush, the First Lady of the United States, who will offer not only her congratulations but those of her husband George, the leader of the free world.
"You're welcome to drop by the big tour and play a round or two with the men any time you like, little lady," Moorhouse added. "As long as it's not a big event, or someplace like Augusta, that bastion of golf tradition where ladies are not allowed."