This was the question posed to me by Annika Sorenstam during a recent sit-down at the PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando, where the Hall of Fame golfer was discussing the latest items from her ANNIKA line of women’s apparel for Cutter & Buck. The Williams sisters and Chris Evert in tennis sprung to mind, but I couldn’t come up with many others.
“Before I jumped into this, we did a random survey and it was interesting to hear — and I would argue not a lot has changed — that not a lot of people on the street could name five female athletes,” said Sorenstam, 48, who remains arguably the best women’s golfer in history with 90 international tournament wins to her credit.
“If you do the same question on the men’s side, people can rattle off 10 to 20 names. At first, I was a little bit surprised, I was like, ‘Why, what’s the difference?’ In golf alone, you had (Greg) Norman, (Gary) Player, (Jack) Nicklaus, (Arnold) Palmer…”
The ANNIKA line is now going into its 15th year and has accounted for $50 million in total sales for Cutter & Buck, which last year was tabbed as one of the Top 100 Businesses in Golf by the National Golf Foundation. “It’s pretty unique for a women’s apparel brand to be alive so long,” said Sorenstam, who was first introduced to the company’s apparel in 2000 while playing with her sister, Charlotta, in a world championship team competition.
At the time, Sorenstam’s apparel contract was coming to an end and she ended up switching over to Cutter & Buck for a few years. Meanwhile, Cutter & Buck was looking to expand its offerings, branching out beyond the 35-55 age demographic for its regular women’s line, and bring in a bit of a European flair.