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Covering Sorenstam added to excitement of my job

One of the best things about working in community journalism is the chance to cover a little bit of everything.

Here in the Southern Crescent, I have witnessed high school teams fight their way to state titles and Clayton State University turn its athletic program into a national power at the NCAA Division II level.

I have watched young men like Kyle Davies and Matt Murton go from high school baseball stars to bright professional futures on the diamond.

Working here in the Southern Crescent I have even been given the opportunity to see D.J. Shockley and Harry Douglas go from the high school gridiron, to bright college careers, to hopefully roster spots with their hometown team- the Atlanta Falcons.

This job even helped give me an appreciation for NASCAR. Before arriving here 11 years ago, I never knew what all the fuss was about.

Now, I understand why NASCAR has turned into one of the country's most beloved and followed sports.

I was at Atlanta Motor Speedway the day afternoon Dale Earnhardt was killed on the last lap at the Daytona 500 as the massive track in Hampton was turned into a shrine for the racing icon, complete with makeshift monuments.

The list of my favorite Southern Crescent sports moments would be incomplete if I ignored the LPGA Chick-Fil-A Charity Championship sponsored by Hall of Famer Nancy Lopez.

It was without a doubt one of my favorite events to cover. I was disappointed when the tournament became a historic event in 2006, leaving behind a trail of memories at Eagle's Landing County Club.

The tournament attracted the best women's golfers in the world, and that included Annika Sorenstam.

Sorenstam won at Eagle's Landing in 2001 and 2005.

Now, it appears the 37-year-old golfer is about to put away her clubs.

Sorenstam might be the best female golfer ever, and Tuesday afternoon she announced her attention to walk away.

Like Tiger Woods does with such ease on the men's tour, Sorenstam has been her sport's most dominating figure over the last decade.

Sure, Lorena Ochoa stands ready to grab the LPGA spotlight, but Sorenstam was, and still is, the person most fans think of when it comes to women's golf.

Just how good is the Swedish born golfer? In a five-year period, Sorenson won 43 events, and finished in the top three 70 percent of the time during that span.

She has won 10 majors and even completed the career grand slam, winning the Kraft Nabisco, the Women's U.S. Open, the LPGA Open and Women's British Open at least once in her amazing career.

Sorenstam also did something that may never be duplicated-shooting a 59 in a single round of tour golf.

Her career also included a brief appearance on the PGA tour when she competed at the Colonial in 2003. Many didn't like her being there.

Some thought she was taking the place of a man who lost his shot at an exception and a chance to play in the event because she was taking up a spot in the field.

Many were glad she failed to make the cut.

Others like me, were happy she was out there. She had conquered everything else in golf, and it was fitting she was giving the men's tour a try.

Sorenstam doesn't have to retire.

She could go on playing, and probably winning for the next decade.

But Sorenstam has found love. She plans to tie the knot with fiancee Mike McGee. She wants to start a family and spend time running her various businesses and charities.

So if you're Annika Sorenstam, and your plate is already full, who needs golf?

It would only get in the way.

Doug Gorman is the sports editor at the Clayton News Daily and Henry Daily Herald. His column runs on Wednesday's and he can be reached at dgorman@news-daily.com.