Anna Nordqvist stared down a birdie putt, gave it a good stroke and watched it grab a piece of the cup before settling just an inch away. And then she smiled, barely. That par tap-in to win the AIG Women’s Open — her first victory in almost four years — was not a putt she was going to miss.
Nordqvist was mistake-free late in her round on Sunday at Carnoustie in Scotland, and her five pars and one birdie over the final six holes was good enough for a three-under 69 and one-stroke win over three others.
It was her first win since her last major, the 2017 Evian Championship. In the time between one of her hurdles was mono, which she said she battled for three years and took a toll on both her mental and physical endurance. In her winner’s press conference she was asked about the struggles and what continued to drive her during the winless slump.
“I hate losing probably more than I like winning,” she said. “I think all the controversy and all the downs, and having my caddie and husband there pushing me every day being a rock; I hate to give up. I feel like things have been coming together, and I saw a lot of good things coming last year and a lot of good things happening this year.”
Nordqvist tied for 12th at the Women’s Scottish Open last week, and she said the way she hit the ball and played in the wind was a big confidence booster.
She also said that last year, when Covid-19 hit, it gave her an opportunity to slow down.
“My life has always gone at 110 miles an hour,” she said. “I think that was probably the break I needed a couple years ago and just never gave myself. It was hard because I kept pushing but it was hard because it was like your feet kept slipping and I didn’t have that extra gear I was always used to. When things got tough, I could always push it through mentally, but I just never had anything and I just felt really weak. So to be able to build myself back up again and have the support of people around me. I moved back to Arizona a couple years ago and I absolutely love it there. I have a lot of great support there. I’m married now and I think just a lot more happy like off the course, so I have a good balance there. I’ve done this long enough now where I feel like you can’t really force anything.”
“There was times I doubted if I ever would win again, and you know, for it being quite a few years in between victory, I think sitting here now, winning the British Open is a dream I could, I mean, I couldn’t really dream of anything more,” she continued. “It was definitely worth the wait, and definitely worth a lot of those struggles and being able to push through. But it’s been a lot of hard work to get here, too.”