Annika Sorenstam, 2008
A three-time winner of the U.S. Women's Open, Sorenstam was coming to the end of her career. She wasn't going to win the event at Interlachen Country Club outside Minneapolis. But her last stroke at her final U.S. Open would be unforgettable.
On the 72nd hole, Sorenstam hit a poor drive, then had to pitch out to the fairway. That left her 199 yards from the pin on the par-5 closing hole.
"I knew it was my last time, there was no doubt," Sorenstam said. "It was bittersweet; that was part of my farewell tour."
She sent a 6-iron shot over the water, toward the clubhouse and the jam-packed No. 18 green. It was a beautiful, sunny, blue-sky-and-white-cloud finish, a picture-perfect farewell for Sorenstam in the tournament where she'd won her first LPGA title 13 years before. It was even more perfect because of where the ball ended up: in the bottom of the hole.
The overwhelming roar of the crowd told her she'd just finished with a spectacular eagle. Playing partner Cristie Kerr embraced her, then Sorenstam and caddie Terry McNamara walked arm in arm onto the green to thunderous applause.
"It was a chance to soak in everything and reminisce about the results I had," Sorenstam said. "As a European, I've always felt like the U.S. Open was the biggest championship in women's golf. For my last shot, to hole it -- it was this fairy-tale story to end it that way.''
"For my last shot, to hole it -- it was this fairy-tale story to end it that way.''
Sorenstam's first LPGA title had come in the U.S. Women's Open 13 years before.