Ladies European Tour Member
The Rio 2016 Olympic Games is such a big feature of our year. Already, in almost every press conference and media interview, the questions about golf’s return to the Olympics come thick and fast. This shouldn’t be a surprise. The Games are the biggest show on earth and anyone given a chance to qualify for their country’s team is going to place it at the pinnacle of their year.
That’s definitely how I see it. If I’m lucky enough to make it to Rio it will be a huge moment for me. Imagine being called an Olympian! What an incredible thought, to be in the same company as famous athletes of the past. What a buzz, to contribute to Team GB and I’d love to stay in the Olympic village to take it all in.
I like to think that the next generation of young kids will watch the golf in Rio and take up the game. I remember when I watched the Olympics I always watch some sports I never normally watch. I like boxing, and so watched Anthony Joshua’s progress since London 2012. He’s a real athlete. Ever since I was young I’ve dreamed of winning majors so for me a major is the main thing, but maybe kids of six or seven can now start dreaming of winning gold medals in the Olympics.
Before all that, I want to qualify. To that end, I’ve had a good start to the season. My second place at the ANA Inspiration at Rancho Mirage, the first major championship of the year, was a thrill. A couple of years ago, I changed my putting stroke, a decision that reaped rewards at the ANA, where my putting was very good. I went left hand below right, and now I really like it because it helps to keep the wrist locked and makes me more consistent on fast greens. I noticed Rory McIlroy changed to it recently too.
It’s great that I’m in contention more and more, and am feeling really good about my chances of winning again soon. I’ve come second five times and in three of them I was leading going in to the final day. On the approach to the first green I flew it through twenty yards each time, which I now see was the effect of the adrenalin of being excited and eager to win. Those type of things are learning points along the way and I think that you can learn much more from losing than from winning.
It’s also important that I don’t put pressure on myself, so I keep telling myself that I’m only just 20 years old. I can’t drive yet (I’ve had some lessons but I’m bad at reversing).
It’s a big season for all of us lucky enough to play golf for a living, but its critical to get the balance right and to have a life outside of golf. For a while, it was getting to be too much golf, but the balance is better now. As much as I love travelling, I’m a real home girl at heart, and I love being with my friends, so I don’t see myself moving anytime soon. It makes playing away extra special and I’m encouraged by the reception from the crowds, who tend to be very supportive. In America, I get, ‘Hey English, good shot!..they call me ‘English’!
Let’s hope the summer is as much fun as it promises to be. Roll on Rio.