CordeValle, in Northern California's wine country, hosted the 2016 U.S. Women's Open. It's the kind of place where Annika Sorenstam might have lapped the field. The course demands accurate driving and solid putting—two trademarks of Sorenstam's Hall of Fame career, which ended in 2008. In 1996, Sorenstam grabbed her second straight Open, at Pine Needles. In 2006, she won her third Open and 10th and final major, at Newport (R.I.) Country Club. That win capped a dominant run and provided a perfect bookend to a career that pretty much began and ended with a U.S. Women's Open title. —Ron Sirak
"I wanted a simple swing I could repeat under pressure."*
– Annika Sorenstam*
My goal was to build a simple swing that was repeat-able under pressure. I wanted my whole body working together with as few moving parts as possible. It started with a solid setup focusing on balance, grip and aim. Notice I had a wide stance, with my feet outside my shoulders. That got me started in perfect balance.
LOW AND SLOW
I liked a one-piece takeaway, with the club, arms and shoulders moving together. That helped the clubhead stay low to the ground. I tried to keep my arms in that V formation from the setup and not hinge my wrists early. This helped me with my tempo.
TURN TO THE TOP
The purpose of the backswing is to transfer weight to the right side by getting your back to the target. To do that, you need to make a good shoulder turn. See how my left shoulder is under my chin at the top, and my hands are about head-high, with the shaft parallel to the ground. I did it well here.
THE LEGS LEAD
The downswing starts with the legs and hips, and the hands and shoulders follow. That creates clubhead lag, because you maintain the angle between your lead arm and the clubshaft. That'll give you more speed at impact. The feeling for me was, my arms were behind me as I started to shift left.
PUSH FOR POWER
Early in my career, my left arm was more bent at impact, but it's OK here. I also wanted to keep my right foot on the ground as long as possible to push off for power. This helped me get down and through to compress the ball, which especially helped with the long irons.
With the follow-through, the idea is to keep turning so your belly faces the target. If you drew a line from my right shoulder to my left knee, it would be straight up and down. That's a full-body release, with all of the body weight on the left side. Plus, I'm nicely balanced at the finish, just like at address.
SORENSTAM'S OPEN RECORD
Wins: 3 (1995, 1996, 2006)
Top-10 finishes: 7
Missed cuts: 2
Low round: 66 (Pine Needles, '96)
Years played: 1992, 1995-20082016 U.S. WOMEN'S OPEN
Dates: July 7-10
Site: CordeValle, San Martin, Calif.
Defending champion: In Gee Chun
TV schedule (all times Eastern)
July 7-8: 3-8 p.m. (FS1)
July 9-10: 3-7 p.m. (Fox)