Putting Secrets I Used to Win 3 U.S. Women’s Open Championships

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The U.S. Women’s Open, the oldest women’s championship open to both professionals and amateurs, takes place this week at classic Lancaster Country Club. The USGA received a record 1,873 entries for this year’s championship, and the ladies will play for a $4 Million purse, with $720,000 going to the winner.

This is the first major championship ever hosted in central Pennsylvania, so there’s little doubt the community will be out in full force to support the event!

To me, this has always been the most prestigious championship in women’s golf. Every sport in every state or country has his or her “open championship” or “national championship.” I was fortunate to win ours three times (1995, 1996, 2006) and I cherish those memories.

Designed by “Golden Age” golf course architect William Flynn, 14 of Lancaster’s 18 holes call for tee shots to severely sloped landing areas. As such, this will be a stern test from tee to green, as players will be required to work their ball both ways to find the fairways and greens. On top of that, they will have to master their nerves and tremendous crowds that go hand in hand with such a prestigious tournament.

Did you know there’s more than the U.S. Women’s Open on the line this week in Pennsylvania? I’m honored to be associated with the Rolex ANNIKA Major Award. It recognizes the player who, during a current LPGA Tour season, compiles the most outstanding record in all five major championships. Points are awarded for top-10 finishes, but to take home the trophy, a player must win at least one of the events. ANA Inspiration winner Brittany Lincicome leads the 2015 standings after finishing fourth at the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship. Inbee Park, winner of the 2015 KPMG Women’s PGA Championship, sits in second after her victory. I can’t wait to watch the action unfold and see where things stand on Sunday evening.

Finally, here’s a tip to help your game. We all know how important putting is, especially on the speedy greens associated with major championships. There will be a lot of testy four footers coming down the stretch and the eventual champion will most likely be the one who handles those best. Learn my three techniques to help you make every four footer in your next tournament here!

Annika is the greatest female golfer of our generation, and often regarded as the best of all-time. During her 15 year Hall of Fame career, she rewrote the LPGA and Ladies European Tour record books, won countless awards, and changed the way women’s golf was played, viewed, and covered. She amassed 89 worldwide victories, including 72 on the LPGA, ten of which are Major Championships. She has a record eight Rolex Player of the Year awards and holds the record for the lowest scoring average in a season (68.6969 in 2004). She has a record six Vare Trophies for the year’s lowest scoring average. She represented Europe in eight Solheim Cups. She is the only female to break 60 in an official event, which garnered her the nickname, “Ms. 59.” Annika was the first and only female to cross the $20 Million mark for LPGA career earnings and her total of over $22 million is nearly $5 Million more than the next closest competitor despite not competing since the 2008 season. Annika was the recipient of the Patty Berg award in 2003 for her contributions to women’s golf. She was the Associated Press Female Athlete of the Year from 2003-2005, and the Golf Writers Association of America Female Athlete of the Year in 1995, 1997, and from 2000-2005.

Annika stepped away from professional golf after the 2008 season to focus on her family and the ANNIKA brand of businesses, including the ANNIKA Academy, ANNIKA Financial Group, ANNIKA Course Design, the ANNIKA Collection of apparel with Cutter & Buck, and signature high-end wines. In 2007, Annika created the ANNIKA Foundation as a way to teach children the importance of living a healthy, active lifestyle through fitness and nutrition, and offer aspiring junior golfers opportunities to pursue their dreams. The Foundation has partnered with key organizations to promote healthy, active lifestyles for children, including SPARK, Florida Hospital for Children in support of its Healthy 100 Kids initiative and The First Tee in development of the Nine Healthy Habits curriculum for children. The Foundation annually conducts four major golf events for aspiring junior girls, including an award-winning AJGA tournament, ANNIKA Invitational at Reunion Resort in Orlando, Fla.; the ANNIKA Invitational at Mission Hills, the first all-girls junior tournament in China; the ANNIKA Invitational in Europe; and the ANNIKA Cup, a team event for the top juniors in Sweden. With the support of 3M, the Haskins Commission and Golfweek, the Foundation created the ANNIKA Award Presented By 3M, which is given annually to the best collegiate female golfer. In concert with the award, the Foundation launched the ANNIKA Intercollegiate Presented By 3M, a college tournament featuring 12 of the top Division I schools, held annually on the Watson Course at Reunion Resort.

In 2008, Annika joined Arnold Palmer as only the second Ambassador of the United States Golf Association, and in 2009, along with Jack Nicklaus, she was named a Global Ambassador by the International Golf Federation and aided in the successful bid for golf in the 2016 Olympic Games. In 2011 Annika was named the winner of the USGA’s prestigious Bob Jones Award, given annually to someone with distinct character on and off the course. In 2013, she was named the First Lady of Golf by the PGA of America. Annika served as a vice-captain for the victorious 2011 and 2013 European Solheim Cup Teams in Ireland and the United States, and will serve in that same capacity in 2015 in Germany. Annika also appears regularly as a guest analyst on the Golf Channel’s popular Morning Drive show and as an Analyst for NBC Golf’s broadcast of LPGA Major Championships. Annika was recently named the top female athlete of all-time in her home country of Sweden.

In addition to expanding her brand and growing the game, Annika and her husband Mike McGee have two children, Ava (9/1/09) and Will (3/21/11). Annika represents world class companies that include 3M, ADP, AHEAD, Callaway, Cutter & Buck, Golfing World, Lexus, Oakley, Pacific Links International and Rolex. Annika’s Twitter handle is @Annika59 and more information can be found at http://theannikaacademy.com/.

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