Image: Annika Sorenstam
Andy Lyons  /  Getty Images file
Sweden's Annika Sorenstam hits her tee shot on the second hole during the second round of the SBS Open at the Turtle Bay Resort.
By
Special to msnbc.com
updated 2/27/2008 10:55:16 AM ET 2008-02-27T15:55:16

Golfer Annika Sorenstam has won 70 LPGA tournaments, including 10 majors, plus 18 other international events, and she is far and away the leading money-winner in the tour’s history. She’s the only female golfer to ever shoot 59 in a tournament and she’s made a name for herself off the fairways with golf course design, the Annika golf academy and a charitable foundation.

After an injury-plagued 2007 season, Sorenstam, 37, stormed back to win her first event of 2008, the SBS Open at Turtle Bay. We caught up with this seasoned jet-setter recently after her engagement to her manager, Mike McGee, to talk travel.

Q: First things first: Where are you going on your honeymoon?

A: Honestly, we haven’t thought about it. We had our engagement trip recently, though. We went to France, Monte Carlo for a few days, wine country in Borgogne, and Paris. That was a start.

Q: Do you ever leave your golf clubs at home when you travel?

A: Not really. Almost every time I go somewhere, it’s for golf — either a clinic or a tournament or something. They’re always in the hotel room.

Q: What about the engagement trip?

A: On that one, I had my clubs with me because I was coming from a tournament. But I didn’t use them. I left them in the hotel. Basically, I have plenty of days where I work, but I don’t feel bad at all when I don’t. You need to take breaks. It’s important to recharge your batteries physically and mentally. If I do take vacations, it’s good for me because I don’t do it very often. I’m always busy with the academy or the Web site or course design. So when I go somewhere for a week, everybody tells me turn off the phone. It’s a good idea.

Q: What are some of the best places for golf vacations?

A: You have to play links courses. I don’t think you’ve played golf if you haven’t played links courses. That’s where golf started and it’s so different. I guess I’d just start with the obvious choices: Scotland or Ireland. They’re really a must. There are so many courses there, and it’s fun to get on the ones that are so well-known, like St. Andrews, Carnoustie, Troon and Turnberry. But you can’t go wrong anywhere over there. That’s what golf is. It’s all links there. And you can find some gems.

Q: Any that are underrated and people might not know about?

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A: Kingsbarns (Scotland) is a great one. Let me say that I have not been to all of the good ones over there. I’ve maybe played 10 different ones. There are so many in and around Dublin, too, and they’re all great, well-known or not.

Q: If I’m visiting Stockholm, what are the attractions I absolutely cannot miss?

A: It’s really a beautiful city and very historic. It’s contemporary, too. It has good food and there’s water all around the city. It’s easy to get around on the boats. I would recommend the sunset tours, and obviously you have to see the castle, the old city. There is a lot to see there. If you have more time, go on these cruises through all of Scandinavia and make sure to see the Norway fjords.

Q: What other parts of Sweden are worth visiting?

A: The beaches in the south. It’s beautiful down there on the west coast, and the seafood, the crawfish, shrimp and lobster, is to die for. In the north, go to the mountains. In summer, it’s light all day. You can tee off at midnight. In winter, it’s like any other ski resort place. But to go to Sweden in May through September, that’s when you really get the most out of it.

Q: You’re quite a foodie. Is checking out the local fare always a priority for you when you travel, and what are your favorite spots for cuisine?

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A: Definitely. I’m always looking for great restaurants. I would say Napa (California) is one of my favorite places. You have really great, creative food from very talented chefs there, and obviously some of the best wine you’ll get anywhere. New York is always fantastic. So many good restaurants, everywhere you look. I’ve been to Japan, and there are very interesting restaurants there. I think London has excellent food. And if you told me we were going on an eating vacation, you have to go to Italy. It’s just one really good restaurant after another there.

Q: Do you have any particularly bizarre or funny stories from travel?

A: I don’t know about that, but I know that I hate traveling commercial. It seems like every time I fly commercial, there are delays or flights being canceled. It’s always a miserable experience for me. One time I lost a whole golf bag and never got it back.

Q: You probably didn’t like those clubs anyway, right?

A: Exactly. I probably missed too many putts.

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