Today, my favorite athlete in the whole world, Annika Sorenstam, won the U.S. Open for the third time. I will not refer to it as the "U.S. Women's Open" as is customary, since we all know she is a woman and plays golf, so the gender designation is unnecessary.
She had to go to a playoff against Pat Hurst in order to do it, but when it came down to today's final 18 holes, she blew her out so quickly that I doubt that Pat knew what hit her.
I admit to being a bit of a women's golf geek, even though I don't play golf. Mostly it's because I admire their skill, but partly because I enjoy watching women play golf. There's something elegant and powerful about it. Delicate on the greens and powerful off the tee. There's the geek part.
There are a lot of great players on the LPGA tour, but Annika obviously stands apart, much as Tiger Woods does on the PGA tour. As I have noted here in the past week or so, it isn't easy to come up with professional athletes that are worthy of our respect and admiration, but Annika and several other women on the LPGA tour fill the bill nicely. It's easy to admire someone who dedicates so much of herself to the game, and comes up big in crucial situations.
Thanks Annika ... and Paula, Carrie, Natalie, and Michelle, and Christie, Pat, Juli and Se Ri ... for giving me professional athletes worthy of my respect and admiration. You restore my faith in humanity - for now.