Captain, Team Europe
Image: Jonathan Brady/Invision/AP
The story of an athlete who rises to the global stage, performs under pressure, competes in a very competitive environment and returns with global-level results to her home country.
Anna Nordqvist is your typical Scandinavian — tall, rangy, a ruthless competitor. It’s impossible to argue with her results so far. We’ve seen her grind out clutch scores in all kinds of pressure situations and come up big in more than one tournament. She plays every shot professionally, but excels at turning her trash shots into perfect ones.
Nordqvist’s coach says her success comes from looking for the extra two or three clubs to really club it through the wind, making her tournaments a two-for-one kind of deal. She even named her whole kitesurfing-style skiing performance system “Shot” so she would be consistent and keep going the same direction. Teammates have joked she is perpetually pregnant with some kind of golf implant. Her coach is even more blunt. “She’s two clubs short.”
One of the ways Nordqvist is becoming known is because of her unrelenting competitiveness, which is her whole mission in life. In only her second year on tour, she crashed spectacularly on a recovery from her golf bag after a drive. Her teammates used to play a little “ouch” on her after events, but she’s as tough as nails, and the negative reaction did not stop her. She took every shot as a serious challenge, and that hard work is paying off, leaving her poised to go for the finish line in her first major of the year, the US Women’s Open.
Image: Jared Wickerham/Getty Images
Behind the scenes, Nordqvist is viewed through the lens of several talented Swedes and Denmark’s surprise victory. Jenny Eriksson Hed, who was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2017, said she was “proud and honored to be carrying Nordqvist’s torch.”
Even without making it to the top, Nordqvist could be seen as the face of women’s golf in the Middle East. According to a spokesperson for the organizer, a Saudi-owned sports conglomerate, Nordqvist was the biggest draw for the event, and could have a huge impact on the sport’s future in a notoriously conservative country.
Opportunities like this are what help Nordqvist establish her legend, and her excitement over her likely third-place finish at the ANA Inspiration speaks volumes for what she means to the game.
“I can’t wait to get back to America. It will be a new start,” she said. “Everything is going to go much better.”