FORT WORTH, Texas Annika Sorenstam left the Colonial without a paycheck, although she could hardly call her historic week a total loss.
''I got two phone numbers, so that's pretty good,'' she said, jokingly.
Those belonged to Aaron Barber and Dean Wilson, the rookies who played alongside Sorenstam over two exhilarating, exhausting rounds as she became the first woman in 58 years to play on the PGA Tour. Sorenstam struck a quick friendship with Barber and Wilson.
''I'm proud to stand next to her,'' Wilson said. ''She's got a lot of game.''
Added PGA Tour regular Jay Williamson: ''I'd trade my swing for hers any day.''
Despite three months of hype that followed her wherever she went, and a 7,080-yard course that was the longest and toughest Sorenstam ever faced, she held her own against the best competition in golf with creditable rounds of 71-74.
In that respect, Sorenstam proved she could play with the boys.
''I really tested myself from start to finish, and that's why I was here,'' she said.
Then again, Sorenstam didn't miss a shot in the first round and still couldn't break par. She finished at 5-over 145, good enough to beat 11 guys, trailing 95 others.
Sorenstam can play on the PGA Tour. The question is whether she can compete.
''It's far from making the cut,'' said Sorenstam, who missed that by four shots. ''I know that. But this is my first chance. And sometimes you've got to do things over and over again to get good at it.''
That's where Sorenstam draws the line.
The raucous ovation she received after closing with a 14-foot par putt was still ringing in her ears late Friday afternoon when Sorenstam made it clear that once was enough.
''It was a great week but I've got to go back to my tour, where I belong,'' she said. ''I'm glad I did it, but this is way over my head.''
Mostly because she split time in the midst of a media circus. The number of reporters and photographers tagging along inside the ropes outnumbered the fans that watch her at some LPGA Tour events.
Every hole at Colonial felt like No. 18 at a U.S. Open. There were so many fans, and so much support, that some cheered for shots they never saw.
''Length wasn't a problem,'' Sorenstam said. ''It was just everything around it. Being under the microscope, and then when I didn't perform as well as I think I can ... I'm emotionally drained right now.''
While the men were trying to make birdies, she was happy with par.
''She's a great player and I'm not taking anything away from what she's done,'' said Fulton Allem. ''But sometimes you've got to dream with your feet on the ground. For any woman to think that she's going to compete against the guys on this tour playing the yardages, the kind of conditions and the golf courses we play, she'll have to pump a lot of iron.''
Every player at Colonial except 1974 champion Rod Curl was trying to win the tournament. Sorenstam only wanted to make the cut.
''If the top 10 women played, they would get run over week in and week out,'' Mark Calcavecchia said. ''For a one-time shot, she is the world's best female player, and she wanted to see where she stood in the game of golf.''
Sorenstam enhanced her reputation as the best female in golf, and her performance on the PGA Tour might stick with her more than any of her records: her 59, her 43 victories on the LPGA Tour, her four majors.
''She has left an indelible mark,'' said Mark Steinberg, her agent at IMG. ''I think she will be known for this. I wish she could have been known for 13 wins last year, and eight the year before. But she has transcended golf.''
Sorenstam returns to the LPGA Tour this week in Chicago as the defending champion. She won the Kellogg-Keebler Classic by 11 shots last year, even though it was a 54-hole event.
If there is a place for women on the PGA Tour, Sorenstam will leave that to someone else.
''If a lady is good enough to get an invite or she qualifies, she should have every right to come here,'' Sorenstam said. ''This is the tour for the best players in the world. And in my case, this is not something I want to keep pushing. I know where I want to play.''
Sorenstam stayed busy even after her round by doing television interviews. When she finished the last one late Friday evening and descended the stairs, she found Jeff Sluman and Billy Andrade waiting.
They waited nearly 10 minutes just to congratulate her on a performance that can't be measured by the score alone.
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