Gwladys Nocera, a titan of the Ladies European Tour for the last 15 years, chose to announce her retirement from tournament golf ahead of the Lalla Meryem Cup on Wednesday.
Nocera, a 14-time champion on the LET, who made four Solheim Cup appearances between 2005 and 2015, has a strong affection for Morocco, where she won the Lalla Meryem Cup in 2007 and 2015.
The 43-year-old from Moulins in France also announced that she is four months pregnant and expecting her first child on September 20, 2018.
Wiping tears from her eyes, she told a packed media room at Royal Golf Dar Es Salam: “I have decided to end my career this week. It’s been 15 years on the LET and 15 years that I gave everything I had. I worked really hard and gave all my passion for the game to achieve what I did. My goal when I started to play golf was just to grow as a better person and I hope I achieved it. There are a lot of people I need to thank, especially the LET for giving me the opportunity to play golf. I saw a growth on the LET and I hope this will continue.
“I had coaches around me who helped me to learn a lot and I want to thank Olivier Leglise, Benoit Coulombier, Ian Triggs and my dad, who helped me as my first coach. My parents have been a big part of my career and are the ones who put a club in my hands. My caddies have been a big part of what I accomplished and without them I don’t think I would have done it. We were always a great team.
“I decided to announce this here, because Morocco has always had a special place in my heart and I need to thank ATH and HRH Prince Moulay Rachid for everything they have done for golf and for women’s golf. When we are here, everything is always awesome and we are treated like queens, or princesses, I don’t know. It is always such an honour to be here and it means a lot to be here to tell you about my new life, here in Morocco.”
“I am starting a new chapter and as some of you may know, I’m four months pregnant. I’m starting to coach a little bit, to share my experience and help some of the new French players. Of course, I would love to be part of the next Solheim Cup, because it has a big place in my heart and it’s the best event in the world.”
Gwladys started her career on the Ladies European Tour in 2003 after completing a degree in International Business at New Mexico State University and she quickly became a dominant player on the tour. In 2005, she made her European Solheim Cup Team debut at Crooked Stick in Indiana and memorably defeated standout U.S. player Cristie Kerr in the singles.
In 2006, she won her maiden LET title at the Deutsche Bank Ladies Swiss Open, which she followed with a second title at the BMW Ladies Italian Open and a third in ten weeks at the Catalonia Ladies Masters.
In 2007, she won the KLM Ladies Open in the Netherlands and the EMAAR-MGF Ladies Masters in India, leading to a second Solheim Cup berth on the team in Halmstad, Sweden. She also won the 2007 Lalla Meryem Cup, played as an exhibition style event, before it joined the LET schedule.
The year 2008 was truly special for Gwladys, who won five times and broke several all-time LET records on her way to winning the Order of Merit. Her victories came at the Aberdeen Asset Management Ladies Scottish Open, the ABN AMRO Ladies Open, SAS Ladies Masters, Madrid Ladies Masters and Goteborg Masters, where she returned the best 72-hole score in the LET’s 30-year history, 29-under-par 259, which broke Laura Davies’ previous record of 25-under-par.
Her third Solheim Cup appearance followed in 2009 and then, after five years without a victory, she was finally back in the winner’s circle with two wins in 2013, at the Allianz Ladies Slovak Open and the Suzhou Taihu Ladies Open in China.
In 2014, she won the Hero Women’s Indian Open, followed by the 2015 Lalla Meryem Cup, which led to a fourth appearance in The Solheim Cup in Germany. In 2016, Nocera had the honour of being the Ladies European Tour team captain in The Queens presented by Kowa.
When asked to describe her fondest memories, she said: “It’s hard to say the best, because I have so many great memories. Of course, all my victories were important and The Solheim Cups, especially my first one and then all four, were amazing. I went through a lot of emotions, because that’s the way I am. That’s what helped me to grow up and now that I feel better in my shoes, I can stop playing.”
“You can go through the best and the worst things in golf, so my best memories are my victories, my friends on tour, all the countries I visited, all the people I met – and I have been pretty lucky. I will miss it, especially the travelling and my friends, but I don’t have the fighting spirit I had. I will still play golf, but I will play for fun. You don’t play for fun when you are an athlete. The fun comes, but you play to win and to get the best from yourself. It takes a lot and I gave a lot and now I’m ready to give to the young ones and show them that’s its possible.”
Now working with the French Federation, Gwladys will remain on site at the Lalla Meryem Cup to assist the next generation, including Camille Chevalier, Agathe Sauzon, Justine Dreher and Ines Lescudier.
She will therefore continue to be a force in European women’s golf and the LET wishes her well with the next chapter.