Annika Sorenstam will be out at least a month because of a ruptured disc in her back, leaving the LPGA without its top player and one of its best draws.
"Obviously it's not good for anybody if Annika is not playing," tour veteran Laura Davies said. "It's the same as if Tiger [Woods] had a monthlong injury and a bad back. Not that people wouldn't watch it, but they'd rather see the premier players up there, and Annika is and has been a premier. Has been for a long time."
Sorenstam withdrew yesterday from the Ginn Open in Reunion, Fla., putting her reign atop the world rankings in jeopardy.
"I've been playing with quite a bit of pain for the past several weeks," Sorenstam said in a statement. "I couldn't take it much more and decided it was time to see someone."
In addition to the ruptured disc, Sorenstam said doctors also discovered a bulging disc. She said she would see a neurosurgeon in Miami later yesterday to figure out what to do next.
Sorenstam has won 69 times on the tour, including 10 majors, during her 13-year career. This is her first significant injury.
After the first round of the Ginn Open, Davies was tied for the lead with Lorena Ochoa, who could supplant Sorenstam atop the rankings next week. Sorenstam has held the No. 1 spot every week since the Rolex rankings were introduced in February 2006.
Brittany Lincicome, in the same group as Ochoa, was a stroke behind at 5-under. Na Ri Kim, Sherri Turner and Mi Hyun Kim were 4-under.
Morgan Pressel, who became the youngest major champion in LPGA history with her victory at the Kraft, shot a 75 and was nine shots off the lead.
Nancy Lopez, the Hall of Famer with 48 career wins who is attempting a comeback after taking most of the last 4 years off, was 11-over and next to last in the 143-woman field. The 50-year-old Lopez lost nearly 40 pounds in hopes of competing with players mostly half her age.
In other tournaments: