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Annika Sorenstam on Woods: "I haven't spoken to Tiger in a year."

Annika Sorenstam (right) speaks to the crowd at Magna GC yesterday while Natalie Gulbis looks on.

The retired LPGA star, who was in Toronto yesterday for a charitable event for Scotia Bank that raised more than $200,000, said Woods used to text her, sending congratulations on her U.S. Open win in 2006, for example. At the time she called Woods a “good friend.”

Not so much any longer. Sorenstam, who played a nine-hole exhibition with Natalie Gulbis (whose awkward swing doesn’t have any of the grace of Sorenstam’s stately strike), says she hasn’t spoken to Tiger, and if remarks she made at a morning breakfast are any indication, it sounds like she’s on the side of Elin, Woods’ now former wife. Sorenstam said she got to know Elin through Woods, but now the pair meet with their respective children. Tiger isn’t a friend any longer, it would seem.

Here’s what Sorenstam told me yesterday during a one-on-one interview. I’ll use the rest of the material in next week’s Sympatico column, where Sorenstam talked about the state of her game, her thoughts on coming out of retirement and the difficulties facing the LPGA Tour.

This is what she had to say on the Woods situation:

“No, I haven’t spoken to Tiger is a year. It has been unfortunate to see the destruction of the family, a beautiful family, like that. I keep in touch with Elin, because support is something she needed — really needed. She’s been so classy throughout the whole thing and now she’s starting a new life, so I wish her the best.”

I think Sorenstam picked her words carefully. She’s not a big talker — certainly not the effusive type. I’ve interviewed her a couple of times and it is kind of like a probing session — she doesn’t volunteer much, so you have to hit her with question after questions. Interestingly Sorenstam and Gulbis arrived in Toronto on Monday, but their clubs didn’t. So Sorenstam grabbed a men’s 9.5 degree driver and Callaway put together some irons and off she went. She may not be the biggest hitter — a couple of the junior girls playing with them drove it by her — but she still has a brilliant swing that’s always on balance. She’s a pleasure to watch in the same way that one can get joy out of witnessing Ernie Els hit the ball.

Score’s Bob Weeks also spoke with the former LPGA star, and files his take here. The Globe and Mail has its perspective here.

They practiced together and Annika Sorenstam once said she had a friendly rivalry with Tiger Woods. Not any longer.

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Jeff Lancaster

Jeff Lancaster is the Publisher of CanadianGolfer.com.

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