Ahead of the inaugural Ford Championship presented by KCC, Anna Nordqvist talks about her hopes for the 2024

This week Anna Nordqvist makes her fifth start of the LPGA season, her second week in a row on American soil but this one is close enough that she'll be staying at home. It's the inaugural Ford Championship presented by KCC, a new event and a new location for the LPGA as 144 strong field take on the 6.615 yards, par 72, Seville Golf and Country Club.

With potential home advantage, the three time Major Champion spoke to media ahead of her first round. By all accounts, the 36-year-old is coming into 2024 after a very difficult time in her personal life. Here she reflects upon the last year, her hopes for this season and why she loves living and playing golf in Arizona.

It's your 16th year on tour, how do you stay motivated and keep chasing your dreams out here?

It's been a while, but moments like the Solheim Cup, it's an Olympic year, there are a lot of things to look forward to this year. Also being part of the Solheim Cup as a Vice-Captain, I think seeing the work that goes on behind, also motivates me even to want to play and do well for the team.

I think I've always been a person that always wanted challenges to grow as a person, both on and off the course. I've been quite open with having a really rough last year behind me. Arizona last year was probably the toughest one. Ended up missing the cut and then, you know, basically seeing my life fall apart that weekend.

It's been a really tough year, but I feel like I've always tried to put my best foot forward each day and find ways to grow as a person or grow as a player. I feel like there is always things that I can improve on and wanting to work on.

The last couple of years, I haven't really had a chance to put my whole heart and effort into it, so this year, I'm just grateful to be out here. Trying to keep smiling and enjoying the ride. Been trying to embrace every stop on tour, going to see places, going to dinners because I know this won't last forever.

But right now, I don't find another challenge for me that keeps me on my toes as much as competitive golf and inside the ropes. I have a lot of things to look forward to this year, and just knowing that it just won't be forever, I'm just trying to make the best out of time that I have.

This is the first time talking to you since you were named Vice-Captain again this year for the Solheim Cup. How excited are you for that?

It's a huge honour to be able to be Vice-Captain under Suzann Pettersen. She is one of my best friends and always a role model and inspiration for me. Always great memories having played alongside her on a couple of Solheim Cup teams and just seeing her competitiveness and intensity, and then also being part of that captain's team, I look up to her a lot.

Anna's family at the 2023 Solheim Cup
Anna's family at the 2023 Solheim Cup - image credit LET/Oisin Keniry

Just seeing how much work really goes into behind the scenes. As a player I think you're fortunate to be able to show up that week and a lot of things are taken care of. But being a playing Vice-Captain last year and hopefully having an opportunity to be playing Vice-Captain again this year, it's very special. There is no secret that I love the Solheim Cup. My family loves it. It's just great memories for my career from the Solheim Cup. I am going to do everything I can as an Vice-Captain and hopefully as a player to make it another successful year for European golf.

On that note, with the Olympics coming up, how much are you thinking about that?

I've been grateful to be part of two Olympic teams. It is definitely one of my big goals this year. All I can do is focus on myself and try to play the best I can. There are a lot of good Swedes, young ones that came on tour the last couple years, so it’s going to be tough to get a spot.

Didn't play the best last year and I know I'm going to have to do well this year to qualify, but all I can do is my best. If someone else plays better, there is just nothing I can do about it.

It's not going to be the end of the day if I don't. I still look back to the memories I have from Tokyo and Rio and I'm very proud to have been part of two teams. Trying not to put any pressure on me and wake up every day and get a little bit better on and off the course and keep smiling and enjoying the game as best I can.

There is talk of a mixed- team event coming to the Olympics in 2028. How do you think that could elevate the game?

I’ve always been a big fan of mixed golf and I brought it up couple years ago saying that we should have some kind of team format. It would be fun to have the guys and the girls do it. You see other sports where they have the team aspect part of the Olympics and how much it means to them. I'm all for it, and hopefully we'll see some changes going forward.

What are your favourite things about Arizona golf?

I love the desert. I know a lot of people don't like it, but I guess one of my strengths is hitting it pretty straight. I don't get to see a lot of desert, but I just love the sunsets, the mountains, the outdoorsy feel. This place has always felt like home for me. I lived in Florida a couple years and then came back here a few years ago. There is no place like this.

View the full leaderboard for the Ford Championship presented by KCC here.