Miriam Nagl will join her fellow Brazilian, Adilson da Silva, in the history books on Wednesday when she hits the opening tee shot in the women’s Olympic Games golf competition at Reserva de Marapendi.
Last week, that same honour fell to da Silva, who teed off first in the men’s event to welcome golf back as an Olympic sport after 112 years.
Now, 35-year-old Nagl has been accorded a similar privilege when she hits the first shot in the first women’s competition since Paris in 1900 when she joins Leona Maguire of Ireland and Malaysian Kelly Tan at 7.30am.
Nagl was born in Curitiba, 800kms south of Rio de Janeiro, and spent her formative years in the country before her parents moved to Germany. She now has dual nationality and lives in Berlin, but Brazil will always be home.
She was emotional on learning of the honour being bestowed on her and said: “I feel overcome, actually, but I am very happy to have this honour. I didn’t get the chance to watch Adilson last week, other than on television, but I guess he felt as I will – nervous, proud and honoured because I was born here. This is very special.”
Nagl visited Curitiba for a few days before arriving in Rio for the Olympic Games golf competition, and her 18-month-old daughter, parents and brother will all be in the audience at Reserva de Marapendi. “It’s fantastic,” she enthused.
“You know, standing on one of the tees, I saw Rickie Fowler teeing off and I saw the Olympic rings next to his foot and I thought, how incredible it is that we get to tee off in the Olympic Games.”
Now Nagl is confident that the best women golfers in the world will attract a similarly enthusiastic reaction from the Olympic fans, who last week created a carnival atmosphere at the men’s event.
She said: “It’s just great and so good that all these people came out to watch and that it was such a successful event. I think it’s fantastic for the game of golf. I hope it will be just as big for the women.
“I think they (the Brazilian public) are getting the point that it’s beautiful to be outside on a beautiful piece of land, with the sun shining and hopefully they will support the sport and just have a good day when they come out.”