We played one tournament in Europe and one in the UK before the Women’s Open. The Evian Championship in France is always a great week, it’s so pretty and is such an amazing place.
I feel players have a love-hate relationship with the golf course, though. They redesigned it and made it a bit gimmicky where they put in crazy greens with big slopes. The Evian never used to be a Major, the field was the top 50 off the LPGA moneylist every year and then if you won on the LET, you got in. It was always a smaller field and it was a really fun tournament when I first played it, back when I was playing in Europe.
They wanted to make it a Major and elevate the event, and they thought they had to change the golf course, unfortunately. Maybe the original course wasn’t a true enough test for a Major, I get that, but with the changes, they completely tricked it up and then they had to make more alterations afterwards because they knew they’d messed it up.
Doug has come with me to the Evian for the past two years to figure out a strategy and it’s definitely paid off. Last year I finished 15th, this year 20th. So, I’ve kind of worked out a way to play the course, which I’m pleased with, especially on the Friday when I was playing on the cutline and did well to make it through. I was first off on Saturday and at one stage I was lying almost last, I was five or six over for the tournament and really rallied back to finish 20th.
At the Scottish Open, I hit the ball great. A similar thing happened last year – I hit the ball great, I just holed nothing. The greens are bumpy; I had to make something happen coming down the stretch and didn’t pull it off. I went for it on the 18th but I had to do what I had to do.
Afterwards, my caddie said to me, ‘Right, I don’t want you to take anything out of this. You’ve hit it good, you’ve played well, the putts just didn’t drop.’ I said she told me the same thing last year, and she said, ‘Exactly!’
I didn’t feel too disheartened about it. It would have been different if I’d played poorly. Obviously I missed the cut so it doesn’t look like I played well, but I hit it a lot better than I scored. I think if I wasn’t hitting it well and I didn’t know that my game was there I would be worried and disappointed, but that wasn’t the case. I almost think I used missing the cut as a blessing in disguise. I changed my flight and arrived for the Women’s Open earlier, it just gave me Sunday to get settled. I went to the course and got my bearings, especially before it got really busy.
I return to the US for a week and then I’ve got three in a row: Canada, Portland and Cincinnati. Then there’s a two-week break because of the Solheim Cup and the Ryder Cup. When I have a two-week break I always take the first week off completely and then I use the next week to build up again.
I think that week off will be the first opportunity we’ll get to unpack in the new house, we’ll be too busy before then.
– This column first appeared in the September 2023 issue of Compleat Golfer magazine.