ORLANDO, Florida – The ANNIKA Foundation, golf Hall-of-Famer Annika Sorenstam’s charitable organization, has hired global golf industry veteran Rob Ohno as its first President and CEO.
Ohno joins the Foundation from the PGA TOUR where for nearly 25 years he helped spur its impressive worldwide growth. After excelling in a variety of sponsorship and business development positions, in 2017 Ohno was named Senior Vice President, Head of International Tours.
In that role he oversaw all aspects of the PGA TOUR’s International Tours in China, Canada and Latin America. Highlights under his leadership include improved access to the Korn Ferry Tour for top players, a new player bonus program, a season-long Cup program and the addition of new Cup sponsors. He was also instrumental in developing the LOCALiQ Series and Forme Tour in the U.S. as last-minute replacement tours during the 2020 and 2021 seasons impacted by COVID-19.
“Rob’s a true global citizen of golf, having worked with people and companies around the world that share a common passion for the game,” says Annika. “Since starting the Foundation back in 2007, we’ve established annual events on five continents and made incredible progress toward our goals. I feel that Rob’s just the right person to build on those successes and help us make an even greater impact. We’re so excited to add him to our team.”
“I’m humbled and honored to join the ANNIKA Foundation; for years I’ve admired the exceptional work it’s done on behalf of junior golfers around the world,” says Ohno. “I’m a huge believer in its ‘More Than Golf’ mission and the power our great game has to shape lives on and off the course. While I loved my many years at the TOUR and have nothing but the utmost respect for everyone there, I felt that this opportunity to work closely with Annika and help the Foundation reach new heights was simply too good to pass up.”
Ohno’s passion for junior golf is evidenced by his active board membership with the American Junior Golf Association. This familiarity with the junior game extends to his personal life as his youngest son, Sam, played Division I golf at Dartmouth College. A graduate of Harvard University (B.A.) and the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University (MBA), Ohno sits on the board of Vicar’s Landing, a premier senior living community, and holds volunteer leadership roles with the U.S.-Japan Council and Asian Executive Network.
The ANNIKA Foundation is devoted to growing the game of golf around the world. It hosts six girls-only invitational tournaments: the Hilton Grand Vacations ANNIKA Invitational presented by Rolex (United States), ANNIKA Invitational Europe and ANNIKA Cup (Sweden), ANNIKA Invitational Mission Hills (China), ANNIKA Invitational Australasia (New Zealand) and the Women’s Amateur Latin America Championship presented by The R&A and ANNIKA Foundation (Argentina).
They are complemented by the ANNIKA Intercollegiate presented by 3M, a 12-team college tournament, and the ANNIKA Award presented by Stifel, which is annually bestowed to the most outstanding female NCAA Division I golfer. The Foundation will also be the main beneficiary of The ANNIKA driven by Gainbridge at Pelican, a new tournament tradition that will begin on the LPGA Tour November 6-12, 2023.
Since the inaugural Foundation tournament – the 2009 ANNIKA Invitational USA – 102 ANNIKA event alumnae have earned LPGA cards. Three of the five 2021 major champions – Patty Tavatanakit, Yuka Saso and Nelly Korda – are ANNIKA alumnae. Many other alumnae are taking lessons learned from their years on the course and making an impact across a wide spectrum of professions including the financial services, aerospace and entertainment industries.