Annika Sorenstam is halfway to a Grand Slam.
No golfer has ever won the four major tournaments of women's professional golf in the same year. But the amazing Swedish golfer has won the first two majors of 2005, and this weekend she is a favorite in the third, the U.S. Women's Open in Colorado.
The legendary Babe Zaharias won all the major women's tournaments in 1950, but there were only three majors that year. Sandra Haynie won both majors played in 1974. Pat Bradley (1986) and Mickey Wright (1961) won three out of four majors.
Sorenstam looks ready to make sports history. She won the Kraft Nabisco Championship by eight strokes and the LPGA Championship by three. She has won six of the eight tournaments she has played in this year. She also had a streak of 14 straight rounds where she shot in the 60s (anything under 70 for a pro golfer is really good).
Right now, Sorenstam seems to be that rare athlete who is so much better than the competition that she appears to be playing another, much simpler, game. Only a few athletes ever reach this level:
* Michael Jordan leading the Chicago Bulls to six National Basketball Association titles.
* Peyton Manning throwing 49 touchdown passes for the Indianapolis Colts last season.
* Tiger Woods capturing four major golf tournaments in a row, the so-called "Tiger Slam," in 2000-01.
* Lance Armstrong cycling to six consecutive Tour de France championships.
Just because Sorenstam makes golf look easy doesn't mean it will be easy for her to win the women's Grand Slam. Winning any pro tournament is never simple. In this case, she will have to play better than every one of the 155 other golfers at the Cherry Hills Country Club. (To complete the Grand Slam, Sorenstam would then have to win next month's Women's British Open.)
The U.S. Open may be the toughest of golf's major championships. Sorenstam has not won it since 1996. Other golfers plan on making it difficult for the 34-year-old to win this time.
Fifteen-year-old sensation Michelle Wie may not have her driver's license but she has plenty of game to win a major title. Another teen, 18-year-old Paula Creamer, has been playing as well as anyone in the last month. And veterans Juli Inkster and Rosie Jones have the experience and the shots to win a big tournament.
But they are not Annika Sorenstam. They don't have her long, straight drives, her laserlike iron shots or her cool on the course. My guess is they will not keep Sorenstam from making more Grand Slam golf history.
Fred Bowen writes KidsPost's sports column and is the author of sports novels for kids.
is trying to win all
four major tournaments