Suzann sets sights on Hall of Fame

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Fresh from another major triumph on the golf course, Norwegian star golfer Suzann Pettersen is now closer to winning a spot in golf’s “Hall of Fame.” Her victory in the Evian Masters tournament in France last weekend brought her two more points towards the 27 needed for entry.

Golfing star Suzann Pettersen back home in Norway this week. PHOTO: NRK screen grab/newsinenglish.no

Golfing star Suzann Pettersen back home in Norway this week. PHOTO: NRK screen grab/newsinenglish.no

News bureau NTB reported on Wednesday that Pettersen, back home in Oslo this week for a few days of rest and recreation, now has 13 titles from the LPGA tour including two masters, for a total of 15 points.

“I actually thought about where I stand just yesterday,” she told NTB while meeting Norwegian reporters in Oslo. “I need a couple more victories and a few more masters. That’s the goal I have. It would be cool to join the ranks. Just being in the ‘Hall of Fame’ speaks for itself.”

Meanwhile, the 32-year-old  Pettersen (called “Tutta” in Norway) is convinced that her latest win will be the foundation for more success. “This is what we work for,” Pettersen told NTB, after mentioning that she’s “come a long way” from her days at the Oslo Golf Club. “It was a long time since I won my first masters,” she added, “but now I can see my name on the list of those who have won several of them.”

Jan Erik Aalbu, former sports chief for Norway’s golf federation (Norges Golfforbund) was ecstatic over her victory on Sunday, which earned her the equivalent of NOK 2.9 million.

“She’s a worldwide star, much bigger overseas than here in Norway,” Aalbu told newspaper Aftenposten. He firmly believes that Pettersen now ranks among the greatest female athletes in Norwegian history.

Norwegians continue to be rather indifferent towards golf, though, and Pettersen isn’t a great heroine or household name back home. Now efforts are afoot to change that, after she’s won two major victories in less than two weeks and hit front pages around the globe.

Pettersen’s manager Geir-Olav Killingstad thinks Pettersen is about to take over the role of Sweden’s Annika Sörenstam internationally, even though her fellow Norwegians struggle to grasp the significance of her victories. “I don’t think it’s something she goes around and thinks about, but I’ve noticed that she gets a tear in her eye when she represents Norway with the flag and the national anthem plays,” Killingstad told Aftenposten.

But now her life is going to be made into a TV series. Negotiations are underway with a production company and a script is in the works. From next May, a TV team will follow her for a year before the series will air around Christmas in2015. Norway’s commercial TV station TV2 has secured the rights in Norway, Killingstad said.

She also has her own management company start-up, Suzann Pettersen Management, which will offer services to, among others, sports personalities both in Norway and internationally.

Pettersen herself moved to Orlando, Florida several years ago for training purposes and greater proximity to major tournaments in the US. Norway is still  home, though, and where she wants to be to unwind. Another major new goal is the Summer Olympics in Rio in 2016. Killingstad expects she’ll become part of a Norwegian Olympic training program within the next year.

newsinenglish.no/Nina Berglund