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Annika Sorenstam lays emphasis on taking golf forward

Gulf News logo Gulf News 05/12/2020 Alaric Gomes, Chief Reporter

Dubai: Annika Sorenstam, the incoming president of the International Golf Federation (IGF), has promised she will do everything within her sporting prowess in taking the sport forward.

Ten-time major winner Sorenstam was elected the new President of the IGF after long-standing head Peter Dawson stepped down from his position earlier this week.

“As an international player, having golf back in the Olympics means so much to me and to our sport. I very much look forward to working with the Board, the IOC and the governing bodies of golf in their efforts to continue to grow the game globally,” Sorrenstam told media after admitting her acceptance of the new post.

“Peter [Dawson] did a great job the last 10 years as IGF President and I am humbled and honoured to have been asked to succeed him.”

The Swede, a regular to Dubai, is set to be take over the reins on January 1, with Dawson stepping down after a decade in the hot seat.

Dawson helped put golf back on the Olympic programme as the sport featured at Rio 2016, but the 70-year-old notified the IGF Board he would not seek re-election when his two-year term expired at the end of the year.

Sorenstam also contributed to golf returning to the Olympic programme after a 112-year absence, serving as a global ambassador during the sport’s campaign for Olympic inclusion. The 50-year-old joins only two other female Presidents in the Olympic Movement - Marisol Casado and Kate Caithness - who head World Triathlon and the World Curling Federation, respectively.

Ty Votaw, an executive on the Professional Golf Association Tour, will serve another term as vice-president, the IGF Board also confirmed.

During her career, Sörenstam claimed 72 Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) titles including 10 majors. The Swede won the ANA Inspiration, PGA Championship and US Open on three occasions as well as the Open before retiring in 2008.

Dawson said the IGF could “not be in better hands” with Sörenstam, a former world number one, at the helm. “It has been a great pleasure and privilege to serve as IGF President. Golf’s re-instatement to the Olympic programme was a landmark for our sport and it was a true thrill to witness our return at Rio 2016,” Dawson remarked.

“Our Olympic status has been a strong catalyst for increasing cooperation and coordination between the major organisations in golf and has significantly strengthened the bonds between the IGF and our National Federations. I wish my successor every success,” he added.

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