Annika was born in Stockholm, Sweden, on October 9, 1970. Her parents Tom and Gunilla nurtured her love of sports, and she began playing golf at the age of 12.
In 1987, Annika joined the Swedish National Golf Team. She credits fellow Swede Liselotte Neumann’s win at the 1988 Women’s Open for heightening her interest in golf. She played in the World Amateur Golf Team Championships in 1990 and in 1992, when she won the Championship.
In the fall of 1990, Annika enrolled at the University of Arizona. She won seven titles during her collegiate career, and became the first foreign and first freshman player to win the individual NCAA Championship. Annika also won the 1991 National Co-Player of the Year, 1992 Pac-10 Champion and was named to the 1991-1992 All-American team. In 1992, she was a runner-up for the National Player of the Year Award and also finished second to Vicki Goetze at the United States Women’s Amateur Golf Championship. The following year, Annika was invited to play in three LPGA events, finishing in the Top Ten in two events and earning over $47,000. She also had four second place finishes on the WPGET (now European Ladies Tour), and was named the 1993 WPGET Rookie of the Year. Tying for 28th at the LPGA Final Qualifying Tournament later that year, she earned non-exempt status for the 1994 season.
Annika burst onto the scene in her rookie year, with three top 10 finishes including a tie for second at the 1994 Weetabix Women’s British Open. Her stellar year was rewarded with the 1994 Rolex Rookie of the Year Award. The following season, Annika won three events, including her first LPGA tour title by winning the U.S. Women’s Open. Annika’s breakout season ended with her winning the 1995 WPGET Order of Merit, the 1995 Rolex Player of the Year award, Sweden’s Jerringpriset award (the country’s most prestigious sports honor) and the Bragd Gold Award for Sports Achievement (voted by the citizens of Sweden). To top off the year, Annika appeared on a Swedish postage stamp (3.50 Swedish Crowns).
The next year, Annika again won three events including the U.S. Women’s Open. She also passed the $1 million mark in LPGA career earnings and won her second straight Vare Trophy for lowest season scoring average. The 1997 season brought six more LPGA victories, a homecoming win in a WPGET event in Sweden and a second Rolex Player of the Year Award. In 1998, Annika won four events, as well as her third Vare Trophy and Rolex Player of the Year Award. That year she also became the first player in LPGA history to finish a season with a sub-70 scoring average (69.99). The two seasons saw seven more victories, her first career hole-inone and over $6 million in career earnings. In 2000, Annika began a streak of six seasons in which she posted at least five tournament victories a year.
In 2001 Annika posted a career year. She won the Kraft Nabisco Championship, as well as seven other LPGA events, set or tied 30 LPGA records and registered a 59 at the second round of the Standard Register PING. She also became the first LPGA player to total $2 million in season earnings, winning both the Vare Trophy and Rolex Player of the Year for the fourth time. Annika continued her amazing play the following year, winning the Vare Trophy and Rolex Player of the Year awards again.
She became the second player in LPGA history to win 11 tournaments in a season and set or tied 20 LPGA records. Her 11-stroke victory at the Kellogg-Keebler Classic tied a LPGA record for largest margin of victory in a 54-hole event. With her victories on the Ladies European Tour, Annika won 13 events in only 25 starts.
With victories in the McDonald’s LPGA Championship and the Weetabix Women’s Open in 2003, Annika became the sixth player in LPGA history to complete the LPGA Career Grand Slam. That year she won five other events worldwide, her sixth Rolex Player of the Year Award and set or tied 22 LPGA records. She won the Jerringpriset Award for the second time, was named the 2003 Female Athlete of the Year by the United States Sports Academy and was given the 2003 Golf Writers Trophy by the Association of Golf Writers. Annika received worldwide media attention for playing against the men at the Colonial in Fort Worth, Texas, where she became the first woman to play in a PGA event since Babe Dickinson Zaharias in 1945. Although she missed the cut, Annika’s participation was seen as a landmark not only in women’s golf, but for all of women’s sports. Annika also competed against top PGA players in the 2003 Skins Game, where she finished second with five skins in a field with Phil Mickelson, Fred Couples and Mark O’Meara. Annika scored only the eighth eagle in Skins Game history.
In 2004, Annika had 16 top-10 finishes in 18 LPGA starts, winning eight events and was named Rolex Player of the Year for the seventh time. She also won two international events and broke her own single season scoring average record posting a 68.69.
The following season Annika continued to smash LPGA records, becoming the only player in LPGA history to sweep the Rolex Player of the Year award, winning for the 8th time, and setting an LPGA record. She also won her sixth Vare Trophy and won 10 of her 20 starts, becoming the second player in LPGA history to win 10 or more events in two different seasons. Annika also finished first on the ADT Official Money List for the eighth time in her career, tying an LPGA record and won a homecoming event on the Swedish European Ladies Tour. Annika won the McDonald’s LPGA Championship for the third consecutive year, becoming the first LPGA player to win a major three times in a row. She also won the Mizuno Classic for the fifth consecutive year, becoming the first golfer in LPGA history to win an event five years in a row.
In 2006, Annika won the MasterCard Classic and then the U.S. Women’s Open for her 10th major title, which is tied for the third most wins all time. Annika also set an LPGA final round record by shooting a 62 at the State Farm Classic.
A new challenge arose for Annika in 2007 – the first major injury of her career. With a ruptured disk in her neck, Annika was forced to sit out for nearly two months and not play the “Annika golf” she was accustomed to. After months of rest and rehab, Annika began to get back into form toward the end of the year and won the season-ending Dubai Ladies Masters, setting her sights on a big 2008.
Healthy and hungry, Annika began the 2008 season earlier than usual and teed off at the SBS Open in Hawaii. In the first LPGA tournament of the season, Annika captured a two-stroke victory and claimed her 70th LPGA career win. She notched two more wins at the Stanford Pro-Am and Michelob ULTRA Open, passing the $22 million mark. Her fourth title of the season came at the Suzhou Taihu Ladies Open in China.