The Swedish star tells us why she's in a happy place right now.
Image: Getty Images - By Harriet Shephard
Sweden’s Anna Nordqvist is on a roll.
The star won on The Cactus Tour in the USA back in March and at last month’s LPGA Walmart NW Arkansas Championship she finished second (only just) behind Austin Ernst. This was the closest she's come to winning since she bagged her second major at the Evian Championship in 2017.
Giving the American a run for her money and posting 20 birdies and 32 pars, the eight-time LPGA winner has now has her sights set on the ANA Inspiration, taking place this week at Mission Hills Country Club.
Perhaps it goes to show that there is some truth in the theory that when you're personal life comes together, your professional life does too.
Despite having to postpone their wedding (originally planned for July), the 33-year-old tells me how she's happier than ever with her Scottish fiancéand LPGA Tour caddy, Kevin McAlpine.
After winning the Evian she reached a career high of No.4 in the World Rankings but by the end of 2019 that was down to 89. However, this year she's fighting back and already up to No.68.
I caught up with her to find out more...
Your game seems strong at the moment, was lockdown productive for you?
I tried to play as much as I could at my home club in Arizona. It was great seeing the guys there every day, having the support and playing with the members. But when we first started back I did feel a bit rusty. You can practice all you want but tournament golf is just different to playing by yourself.
I was outdoors a lot biking and hiking, and then I got into baking and cooking mode, and in the first few weeks I got in this zone where I wanted to organise everything around the house. I watched a lot of Netflix and it did feel like it flew by. Probably because I haven’t spent more than two weeks at home since I turned pro in 2009. So for me it was kind of a nice break. To sleep in my own bed and do lots of home cooking.
If you had to do lockdown again with another player who would you choose?
Brittany Lincicome is one of my best friends so I’d probably choose her. She’s easy going and lots of fun.
Your fiance (Kevin McAlpine) used to caddy for Lexi Thompson and now it’s Amy Yang, is there ever a conflict of interest between the two of you?
He takes his job very seriously so he always wants his player to do well, even if he's backing me too. But say if we were both coming down the same stretch he would still back his player over me. That situation has never happened though.
He doesn’t ever caddy for me really, we see so much of each other at home I like to keep work separate and I think that’s a good set up for us.
Is it nice working in the same industry as your other half?
It's cool because we get to travel to the same places and things. He’s a good golfer as well so I’m fortunate to have him to practice with if I need to.
I think it would be hard for someone outside of golf to understand the lifestyle we live. Golf is a small world and we have a shared understanding and we both know what it’s like playing under pressure. I’m not saying you can’t be with someone out of golf but to have someone who shares my passion and knows how cool the game can be means a lot to me. I’m glad I found Kevin.
Does it get competitive when you practice?
Yes, we compete at everything we can. We both hate to lose. He did beat me a few times during quarantine and I think if he put in as much work as I do then it would be pretty close call. He can hit it really far and when he does win he makes sure I don’t forget it!
He’s Scottish and so is your caddy, do you feel a strong to the country?
It’s so nice to see the culture from a local’s perspective. I had been to Scotland a lot of times before I met Kev for work, but I love just going to the local pub and exploring the nature, it’s such a great country and that’s why I decided I wanted to get married here. I love the fish and chips too, you don’t get it like that anywhere else. I have had haggis at Christmas, but it’s not my favourite. His mum cooks for me a lot and I like to try new things. I know a lot of Scottish words now and sometimes I have to translate when Kev and my caddy are talking and people don’t understand.
Stacy Lewis criticised the pace of place at the Ladies Scottish, do you think slow play is an issue?
I 100 percent agree with her. On the Friday of that week my group played in five hours and 45 minutes, I don’t think there is any excuse to be that slow. We waited at every shot from about the 2nd hole. I don’t know if anyone enjoyed it, it’s not fun just standing around. It’s a long time to keep focused and compete. There's no flow so it effects your game.
How’s being part of team PXG?
I’ve been with PXG for three years and I love it. I feel like there’s a great support system, and I’m fortunate that the headquarters is ten minutes from where I live. It's a lovely feeling to know they are just down the road if I need them for anything. I love the clubs and there isn’t one in my bag that I don’t like, and that’s not normal.
The clubs aren’t gender specific, the shaft is based on your swing and part of their package is a customised fitting, which I think everyone should do. Just buying clubs off the rack probably won’t help your swing. I don’t think there should be male and female clubs, if you can change the specification then they can fit everyone.
Do you feel the same about gender specific tees?
At PXG’s club in Scottsdale they also just put the distances on the tee box not the colours. I do feel like a lot of guys probably shouldn’t play the back tees and it’s just their egos stopping them from moving up. I don’t get that though because it’s always more fun shooting par rather than a couple over par. I think the tees should match the person and the circumstance, like the weather or how you’re feeling in yourself, rather than your gender.