Star Caliber Departures

The last two days have been huge in women’s sports. Yesterday, Annika Sorenstam announced her retirement from golf effective at the end of the year. Sorenstam is arguably the greatest female golfer in history winning 72 LPGA events including 10 majors in her 14 year career. She cited her wish to settle down and start a family as one reason for the decision. I can understand that, as she really doesn’t have anything else to prove on LPGA tour and while she has played in a men’s tournament, she never really expressed any interest in playing against the men on a regular basis.

The problem for the LPGA is that they are losing their biggest star and really their only marketing tool. The LPGA tour will turn to players like Lorena Ochoa, who is currently ranked #1 in the world rankings; 21-year-old Paula Creamer, #4; and 19-year-old Morgan Pressel, #15, to become the torch bearers for their organization. It will be interesting to follow the situation next season once “Life After Annika” begins.

One day after Sorenstam’s departure another female star announced that she would also being leaving her sport. Justine Henin, the #1 ranked female tennis player, announced that she would be retiring effective immediately. The 25-year-old cited “burn out” as her reason for stepping aside.

Henin won 7 Grand Slam titles and spent more than 100 weeks at #1, but I feel like she will be easily replaced. While she was a big star in the world of tennis, she was far behind players like the Williams Sisters and Maria Sharapova. Unlike Sorenstam, Henin did not single-handedly carry her sport into mainstream coverage. There will be another Justine Henin, just like there was another Steffi Graf, Monica Seles, Jennifer Capriati, etc.

Hopefully for the LPGA, they can turn to one of their young, rising stars to take over and dominate the sport, but I’m not sure they have one just yet. The LPGA may suffer for the next few years while their stars battle to decide who is the brightest. This is a big time for them, but if they play their cards right, they can make their sport much better than it was before.

7 Responses

  1. Seriously?

  2. So Nick, I am thinking Golf and Tennis are not your thing. Too bad. Sometimes really talented people play outside the big three in men’s sports.

  3. No I love other sports…I was more or less surprised by the discussions ending.

    Maybe it is a tad-bit sexist, but I am not a huge women sports fan and my comment was merely reflecting on the LPGA trying to build off of this.

    I really didn’t think it’d be an issue and I don’t think I really ever eluded to or said anything about the big 3 men’s sports.

    I mean, there is a big 3 for a reason I guess but I love my Hockey, I enjoy some soccer, love golf and even tennis….I was really just aiming it at the women aspect and how I don’t think any young star will turn their sports around.

    I think a great case in point will be Candace Parker with the WNBA. If she can’t bring them to the next level, nothing will bring women’s golf to the forefront.

    Sorry jasp, didn’t mean to offend you. You must’ve had a lot of experience with womens golf and tennis?

  4. Nick, I appreciate the reply. I don’t have experience with women’s golf or tennis. I just enjoy most sports as well and do find most people think of women’s sports as boring. I thought you were downing the idea that Bryan would talk about them at all. I now understand the nature of your question. My apologies.

  5. It’s all good. I didn’t really elaborate. I was studying and just put down a word. Usually I am not a man of few words so I am still kind of confused why I didn’t want to go further into it. My guess is just having my brain fried from reading.

  6. Hey ya know you should come on down to our state and watch grace & mother :) there better then any pro i know :)

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