Less than six months removed from the LPGA Tour, Annika Sorenstam has no itch to return. She's too busy conquering other worlds.
Wine: Annika's will make Rothschild taste like prune juice.
Course design: Annika's will make Robert Trent Jones' look like dog-track munis.
Fragrance: Annika's will make Chanel smell like Eau de Skunk.
Education: The Annika Foundation's programs will make Montessori schools look like "Fast Times at Ridgemont High."
Turns out the best player women's golf has ever seen is hyper-competitive away from the course, too.
"It's something that's in my blood," Sorenstam said Tuesday during a Kingsmill cameo. "The question is how you channel it. I can't think of a tougher time to start a business than now. I'm going to use that competitiveness.
"I want to have the best academy in the world. I want to build the best courses in the world. I'd love to create a foundation that's really significant and can make a difference. ...
"If I didn't have that, I think it would be a different story. I might be a little antsy. I might be a little tough to live with."
Sorenstam and her husband, Mike McGee, jetted in to promote next month's LPGA's Michelob Ultra Open at Kingsmill. Such appearances are standard for defending champions, but two days after dusting the 2008 Mich field by seven shots, Sorenstam announced that she was "stepping away" from the tour to pursue business, charity and personal concerns.
Sorenstam played her farewell tournament in December, married McGee in January and revealed last month that they are expecting their first child in September. But relax?
She'd rather shank a 6-iron.
"I'm not kidding you when I tell you she works all day, every day," McGee said. "I've never, ever seen her just sit there and relax and watch a movie."
"I have friends telling me, 'You gotta slow down,' " Sorenstam said. "My mom said, 'Where you going?' I'm going again. I guess I just go with how I feel."
Sorenstam, 38, shoehorned Tuesday's gig into an itinerary that took her to Korea two weeks ago for course design, and Myrtle Beach, S.C., on Monday for a Hootie & The Blowfish charity outing.
Team Annika headed home to Orlando, Fla., Tuesday afternoon to prepare for a Phoenix-Pebble Beach junket that starts Thursday. Then come trips to L.A. for a philanthropy conference, Livermore Valley, Calif., for the wine launch, Switzerland for lobbying the International Olympic Committee to add golf, Sweden to visit her homeland, and Korea and Lake Tahoe for road sessions of her golf instruction academy.
"I'm far from retired," Sorenstam said.
"It's non-stop," McGee said. "It really is. She's booked through July."
McGee remembers a 2007 trip on which the couple flew consecutive red-eyes from Thailand to Korea to California to Florida. The next morning Sorenstam was greeting students at the academy.
That drive and energy fueled a career that produced 72 LPGA Tour victories, 10 major championships and eight player-of-the-year awards. No active player has more than 36 wins ( Karrie Webb), seven majors (Webb and Juli Inkster) or three PoYs ( Lorena Ochoa).
The last of Sorenstam's tour wins came at Kingsmill, where she posted four sub-70s rounds for the first time in three years and shattered the tournament record by five shots.
In hindsight, given the world-class field, and the state-secret nature of her impending "retirement," Kingsmill ranks among the signature performances of Sorenstam's hall of fame career. She is particularly proud of the final-round 66 that included laser approaches, center-cut putts and nary a missed fairway.
"I wanted to finish with a low round to prove to people I'm not stepping away because I can't handle it anymore," Sorenstam said.
Only fools would have believed as much. And only fools would dismiss her business sense — sagging economy and impending motherhood notwithstanding.
To date, Sorenstam's sole concessions to pregnancy are eliminating alcohol (McGee confessed to sipping some vino at Hootie's party), sushi and oysters from her diet. She still plays at outings and her academy, and still looks and sounds like an elite athlete.
Sorenstam's foundation focuses on childhood education and nutrition. Her courses are open in China and South Africa, with ongoing projects in Malaysia, Korea, the Philippines, Canada and South Carolina.
"I've just moved my focus from hitting a 7-iron to creating a brand and building a product," she said.
Sorenstam leaves the door ajar for a return to the LPGA Tour, but don't hold your breath.
"She just got tired of the daily grind with golf," McGee said. "She'd practice eight hours and think nothing of it and then work out. And the constant pressure she put on herself to be the best is something I personally cannot relate to.
"I think just lifting that burden off her shoulders and letting her focus on her other businesses ... was easy."
Indeed, unless Sorenstam is Kate Winslet in spikes, she is blissfully at peace. And come August, she vows to take a few months off to welcome her little one.
"I'm enjoying life," Sorenstam said. "I really am."
LPGA at Kingsmill WHAT: Michelob Ultra Open.WHERE: River Course at Kingsmill Resort in Williamsburg.WHEN: May 7-10.2008 CHAMPION: Annika Sorenstam.Online To follow this year's LPGA event at Kingsmill and to read about and see photos from past tournaments and champions, visit dailypress.com/lpga.When the tournament starts, there will be live blog updates from the Daily Press staff, in addition to complete coverage online and in print.David Teel can be reached at 247-4636 or by e-mail at email@example.com. For more from Teel, read his blog at dailypress.com/teeltime. Copyright © 2015, CT Now