But unlike the millions who saw it on television, I was there. I shot 70 on Sunday at Royal Troon, my best round of the week. Then I watched history as Sophia became the lowest-ranked player in the history of the Rolex Rankings to win a major championship.
As the tears flowed on the 18th green and Sophia embraced her boyfriend, I felt a welling in my own eyes. I know exactly how that moment feels. I know the joy and the relief, the weight that is lifted and the questions that have finally been answered.
My first win was also a major, the 2018 ANA Inspiration, which I won in an eight-hole sudden-death playoff that extended into Monday morning. Like Sophia, I had played professional golf a long time - 193 starts on the LPGA Tour to be exact - without a victory. Like Sophia and many others who have had successful junior and college careers but struggled at the next level, I doubted myself. I wondered if I would ever break through and reach the top. But there was always something that brought me back. Even at my lowest points, there were incremental improvements each and every year that made me believe in myself. Even without a victory, those moments, combined with the fact that I am extremely stubborn and incredibly competitive, made me know that I was where I belonged. I also had a team around me that kept believing in me, encouraging me to continue to pursue my dreams on the LPGA Tour.
In addition to having my fiancé (now my husband) Daniel Taylor caddying for me, Patrik Jonsson, my swing coach since 2011, has been a huge part of my success. I look at the shots I’m able to hit now and I realize that the work we have done on my golf swing has made a huge difference. But it is the confidence that I gained after starting my work with putting coach Jon Karlsen that put me over the top. Jon straightened me out by simplifying things. First, he asked, “Can you aim straight?” We tested that and he said, “You’re great at aiming.” Then he asked, “Can you start the ball where you want to start it?” The answer to that was: yes. So, Jon said, “Ok, if you can do those two things, why worry about how your stroke looks?”