Detail image for August 2023 Big Swinging story.

Annika Sörenstam is regarded as one of the best female golfers in history.

With 72 LPGA wins in her career, she’s undisputedly one of the greatest female players in golf history. While participating in the annual American Century Championship Celebrity Golf Tournament in South Lake Tahoe, Nevada, at Edgewood Tahoe Golf Course, Annika Sörenstam met with Tabnie Dozier to discuss merging her two passions, golf and giving back.

Written by Tabnie Dozier | Photographed by Sky Thomas

Nestled amongst North America’s largest alpine lake sits Edgewood Tahoe Golf Course. It is Lake Tahoe’s only lakefront golf course and for the past three and a half decades, sports and entertainment’s top names flood the gorgeous area in the name of charity.

The field features some of the greatest in sports and entertainment, like Jerry Rice, Miles Teller, Alfonso Ribiero, Aaron Rodgers, Emmitt Smith and Tony Romo. More than 90 participants compete in the 54-hole tournament in the name of charity. This year is Annika Sörenstam’s fourth appearance where she is joined by Today Show Meteorologist Dylan Dreyer, NBC Sports Reporter Kathryn Tappen and golf personality, Hally Leadbetter.

Detail image for August 2023 Big Swinging story.

Annika started the Annika Foundation 15 years ago.

“This is a big event. This is a big highlight of the summer, to be in Lake Tahoe,” Annika says. “But also to come here and showcase some of the amazing celebrities who enjoy the game so much. We’re all coming together from different walks of life; it’s nice to be one of the few females here.” This annual outdoor extravaganza has raised millions for nonprofits in the Tahoe basin and elsewhere. Each year, nearly 40 agencies receive a range of $1,000 to $10,000, including The Stowers Institute for Medical Research, the United Negro College Fund and the Wounded Warrior Project.

But we’re not here to discuss the tournament or Annika’s phenomenal even-tempo golf swing; instead, she offered us time to talk about work off the green through her Annika Foundation.

“I’m passionate about giving back to the game of golf,” Annika says. “Golf has been very very good to me; I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for golf. So how can I share my experience and my passion and give back to the next generation? Obviously being a female I want to provide women with playing opportunities around the world.”

“Golf has been very very good to me; I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for golf. So how can I share my experience and my passion and give back to the next generation? Obviously being a female I want to provide women with playing opportunities around the world.”

The Annika Foundation is a living dream for this living legend – providing young golfers with everything from media training to college preparation, nutritional and fitness programming. Golf is the centerpiece, but the goal is to help women golfers achieve their potential and live confident, healthy lives. “I like to say that golf is more mental than physical,” she says. “Really, I mean, it’s about believing in yourself and trusting yourself. And the social aspect of having people with the same interest is really important for the health and well being of a human being.”

The organization is in its 15th year and has inspired thousands and thousands of girls around the world through its support of junior golf and young players. “We give back about $8 million to junior golf, we have over a hundred who play in the LPGA tour and we have 300 who play and have turned professional around the world,” she says. “It’s totally global. These young golfers inspire me and I hope to inspire them. We’re going to continue, whether it’s through competitions, mentoring, education, providing scholarships, just making sure that they can use golf as a tool… as a platform to achieve their dreams.”

Detail image for August 2023 Big Swinging story.

The Annika Foundation offers inspirational golf clinics as well, where the expert herself teaches the fundamentals of fitness, driving and putting. “Obviously, being a female, I’d like to be able to provide young female players with playing opportunities around the world, so they can fulfill their dreams like I’m living my dream,” she explains. In addition to uplifting young golfers all over the world, Annika has two of her own children –  teenage daughter Ava Madelyn McGee and son, William McGee,12.  “Our son is very much into the game of golf, so I practice with him whenever I can.” (She was photographed taking some time to practice with her son during the tournament.)

Despite all she has done for women in the game of golf and beyond, Annika is incredibly humble. During the routine ACC tournament press conferences, she stepped outside for this interview with no hesitation. When you call her a legend, an inspiration or the best in the game, you see the shyness and humility shine as bright as the sun reflecting on that gorgeous lake behind her: “ I just feel very lucky to be where I am today. You know, golf has taken me to a lot of places and introduced me to a lot of wonderful people,” Annika says. “I feel fortunate that I can give back to the game and to other people, and to inspire them, because I’m so fortunate to be able to do that. My husband read a letter from a fan that brought tears to our eyes. It’s just about, you know, thank you, and golf has meant so much to me, and it makes me think about my dad who introduced me to the game. It’s those little things. You can really impact somebody’s life whether it’s one or two or more. If everybody did that, I think we’d be in a good place.”

You can support the legendary golfer’s charity and learn more by visiting