Annika is back on LPGA Tour, just not for very long

FILE - In this Sunday, Jan. 24, 2021 file photo, Celine Boutier, left, of France, and Annika Sorenstam, of Sweden, chat while walking down the 17th fairway during the final round of the Tournament of Champions LPGA golf tournament in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. Sorenstam will compete on the LPGA this week for the first time since 2008. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack, File) (Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

ORLANDO, Fla. – Annika Sorenstam smiled and began shaking her head before she heard the rest of the question, already aware what others might think about one of the LPGA Tour's most dominant players returning to competition after 12 years.

She is among the 120 players in the field this week for the Gainbridge LPGA.

Next week she goes back to being a wife, mother and businesswoman.

“This is not a comeback. It's an appearance. And I'm just thrilled about that,” Sorenstam said Wednesday at Lake Nona, her home course for 21 years and a big reason she decided to play for the first time since she retired in 2008.

Her appearance is no less amazing.

Sorenstam turned 50 in October. She announced her retirement when she was 37 and was coming off consecutive victories of what turned out to be the last of her 72 victories on the LPGA Tour.

Her youngest child, 9-year-old Will, has the golf bug and that brings Sorenstam out to the course more often. She has played with her father in the PNC Championship the last two years. Diamond Resorts supports her foundation, so she played in the celebrity division of the LPGA Tour season opener last month.

And then the Gainbridge LPGA moved from South Florida to Lake Nona, and Sorenstam already was contemplating a return to competition at the U.S. Senior Women's Open.