We played two Majors in late June and early July – the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship at Baltusrol Golf Club and the US Women’s Open at Pebble Beach.
The course at Baltusrol was fantastic. Unfortunately there was a stomach bug going around and I got sick that week.
I started vomiting in the early hours of Friday morning and had two drips before I teed off later that morning.
I somehow managed to make the cut and did well to even play. If it wasn’t a Major I wouldn’t have. It was a little disappointing because I felt I was playing well. I felt like if I hadn’t been sick I could have contended; I still finished 39th with everything going on.
I just dug deep, I think sometimes I surprise myself. I had to figure out how hard I was hitting the ball as I was hitting at least one club short. Conditions weren’t easy either. My caddie said she was praying every time I stood over the ball, hoping I didn’t suddenly get a burst of energy and hit it like I normally do! I think the work I’ve done mentally is what kept me in.
It was a case of one foot in front of the other. That mental strength got me through to play that weekend.
Unfortunately I’m Coeliac so if there’s something stomach-related I’m bound to get it. My stomach is so sensitive, so when I do get something it hits me. It takes me longer to recover than most people I wasn’t better until the following Wednesday. When we came home the next week I hadn’t eaten three meals a day for six days. It’s just something I deal with.
But my parents were at both Majors; they hadn’t seen me play in the US as a pro, so it was special. It was very cool for me, especially at Pebble Beach. I think it’s a bucket-list thing for any golfer, especially for my dad.
I felt like I was starting to run a little on empty, though; I’d played six out of seven weeks. Playing on the cutline on Friday evening was tough but I felt proud of myself for hanging in there and making the cut, especially with the conditions. We were on the 8th hole for 45 minutes; it was freezing and we just had to wait. The conditions were just playing really tough – left-to-right wind, cliff on your right-hand side.
I holed a four-and-a-half footer to make the cut, played well on Saturday and then on Sunday the game just wasn’t there.
I feel like I’ve had a successful run recently – I finished third, seventh, third, first, 13th and then got sick so was 39th, and I just had a bad Sunday at the US Open. Overall it was consistent golf.
I took two weeks off after that. I left on 22 July for the next stretch – the Evian, Scottish and British Opens – three in a row. It’s a crazy busy stretch for us with all these Majors. I do feel rejuvenated, though.
I love playing in Europe and the UK; it’s my favourite time of the year and schedule. I think it’s because I started over in Europe; I played my golf there, and it’s familiar and comfortable. It’s nice to also get a change of scenery and culture. The fans over there are amazing. You can’t beat it – the knowledge, the etiquette – there’s something special about playing golf there, especially in Scotland and England.
In between all of this we’re also trying to move house! We’ve bought a house and we’re busy packing so we can move when we come back. We’ve been renting for three years, so now we’re putting down real roots here. It will never be home-home but it’s where we need to be and it’s been so good for my game. David’s already bought the braai – I think we got that before anything else!
– This column first appeared in the August 2023 issue of Compleat Golfer magazine.