Whats new? This last month has been really eventful for me with the Solheim Cup in Ireland.
We played in Arkansas and Alabama the two weeks prior and it was a bit difficult focusing on those two events, since everyone was just buzzing about the Solheim Cup. I know I was for sure! But I had a good week in Arkansas, finishing 5th with a last round of 64. Every putt seemed to be dropping for me, it was a lot of fun. Then we took a charter flight from Montgomery, AL to Dublin, Ireland with a little fuel stop in New Foundland (I don’t remember the city name, but it was one of those airports where I was glad that they actually had a tower and a fueling station).
Once we set foot in Ireland, everything was scripted. The few hours on the charter flight were probably the last ones I had on my own. The schedule ranged from autographing hundreds of pin flags, to clothes fitting, to photograph sessions (the photographer must have called out “This is the last one” 20 times), to practice rounds and gala dinners, to press conferences and TV interviews.
We also had other really important things to do like admiring the load of gifts that we received, when we first entered our hotel room and scream-jumped in the air (but that wasn’t the end of it – every night after dinner there was a little surprise and a note from our captain) and playing games in our team room (X-box, ping-pong table, pool table, darts and a little race car track) or rocking to our team CD in the bus ride to and from the golf course.
As the week went on, more and more fans came to the golf course each day. But you really didn’t know what to expect as a rookie until you stood on that first tee on Friday morning. Most of the rookies didn’t play in the morning matches on Friday so they would get a feel for the atmosphere out there. It gave me goose bumps, it was so cool. I couldn’t wait to get on the golf course. During my first match I was paired with Catriona Mathews and I enjoyed it immensely. Fans were singing songs and chanting rhymes with your name. I flushed my first tee shot down the middle and breathed out a sigh of relief. Then off I went happily playing my first ever best ball match in the 2011 Solheim Cup. The adrenaline was up all week and when I made my first birdie on the second hole, I believe I made a fist pump as if it were the 72nd hole to win a tournament. That’s how it felt anyways! Even though we were up the entire match, Catriona and I halved it in the end. The two Americans made really good birdies on 16 and 17 and there is not much more to be said. Fair play, we halved it.
The next day, I played in the afternoon again with Christel Boeljon and unfortunately we lost on hole 17. We played really solid golf, but again a long birdie putt from the Americans on 17 took away our chance to half the match on 18 and the better ones won.
As a team we came into Sunday equal to the Americans: 8 to 8. So we knew we had to perform in the singles. The weather forecast was terrible for the day and it turned out to be right. On the first hole Par 4 I hit Driver and another 3 wood, only to come in short in the front Bunker. These were probably the worst weather conditions I have ever played in and I couldn’t get into my game at all. All I was trying to do was not to loose my club while swinging, because it was raining so hard. But Brittany Lang managed to play really well and I found myself four down in the blink of an eye. There was a little spark of hope, when I won the 11th hole with an unbelievable up and down from a plugged Bunker lie, but she came right back at me on 12 with a birdie. So all I could do then, was to congratulate Brittany, cheer on the rest of my team and hang out with my “Lederhosen Army”. I didn’t tell you about them yet! You know my caddy Roy is Irish, so 14 of his best buddies came from Cork, dressed up in Bavarian costumes, singing and dancing during my entire match. Even though I didn’t have much to laugh about during my match, they certainly gave me reason to do so! They were absolutely hilarious, had a little too much to drink and nearly froze to death in their white shirts and the pouring rain (see photo). Thanks for supporting us lads!
My team then really pulled it together in the end! It didn’t look very cheerful for Europe at all, but it finally turned around within 5min and we were all screaming our heads off and jumping around the 18th fairway, when we realized that the points had added up to 14 and a half – the magic number we needed to win it.
With the Solheim Cup being hosted in Europe and the endless support we received from the Irish crowds, it was such a blessing that we won in the end. Most of the people (except for the US fans of course) left the course happily and with hopefully some good memories to take with them. I know the whole European team enjoyed playing in front of the Irish and their passion for the game.
My sincere thanks goes to all the European fans and the event volunteers for their dedicated support and help. Also, many thanks to all the American fans who came out and contributed to making the event such a fair and exciting competition.
The closing ceremony – just like the opening one, except with an acquired Cup in our hands now – was stunning and very emotional. Winning the Solheim Cup back after 3 successive losses, meant a lot for Europe and to the appeal of the whole event in the future. Now the Americans have to win it back in 2013 in Colorado. And it will be a good battle.
After we got back to the hotel (I’m not going to go into detail about the bus ride home…but you can only imagine), we started our celebration party in our team room. By 12 at night, it was packed and most of us were on the dance floor until the early morning hours. It was a good thing that we were off the following week, because it took a few days to recuperate from the long week. I actually stayed in Ireland to visit my friends and got to play one of the country’s most famous course: Waterville. I loved it. Unfortunately the weather wasn’t the best, but that is part of Ireland! Hence, the people are so friendly and they love to socialize – or maybe they don’t have any other choice with so much rain. ;-)
Now I’m in Seoul, Korea with another two events coming up in Asia. I’m excited about the next few weeks.
To everyone, who was at the Solheim Cup or watched from abroad – thanks for your support! To everyone, who didn’t – come out in 2013, because it is one of the most exciting events in golf. Trust me.