AIG Women’s Open: Anna Nordqvist lifts lid on mental health battle after win at Carnoustie

Anna Nordqvist admitted she struggled with “mental and physical endurance” in the four years between her Evian Championship and AIG Women’s Open victories.

The Swede had not tasted victory since winning her second major in France in 2017 and slipped out of the top 50 on the Rolex World Rankings earlier this year.

But Nordqvist found encouragement from her form in the build-up to the final major of the year at Carnoustie, where her third-round 65 – the low round of the Championship – propelled her into a share of the lead heading into the final round.

And her resolve and composure were a feature of her final-day performance as a three-under 68 earned her a one-shot victory over Georgia Hall, Madelene Sagstrom and Lizette Salas.

As an emotional Nordqvist reflected on her momentous victory, it was the culmination of the hard work she has put in to combat her mental strength issues which, in turn, affected her physically.

“The hardest part was basically losing my mental endurance and my physical endurance,” said the 34-year-old. “It took about three years to get over, and I think last year during Covid, I finally had some time to be at home and slow down.

“My life has always gone at 110 miles an hour, so it was great to finally have a little bit more time at home and not having to travel, 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 I had to build myself back up again and I had 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.

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“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 victories.”

Nordqvist, who recently married Dundee native Kevin McAlpine in the US, can now look forward to her seventh straight appearance for Team Europe in the Solheim Cup, but only after letting one of her career dreams sink in first.

“I think sitting here now, winning the British Open, I couldn’t really dream of anything more,” she added. “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.

“There’s just something about golf that keeps driving me. I hate losing probably more than I like winning. I think 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. To be able to get things clicking; I felt like last week at The Scottish Open, I played really well. I hit the ball really well in that wind. So I think that was a confidence boost for me.”

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