I know what it’s like to struggle. I know all the questions you ask yourself, the doubt and frustration you sometimes feel. I know about the sweat, the countless hours of hard work and the emotional energy you invest only to see your dream slip further from sight like a ship disappearing in the twilight.
I know what it’s like to stand on a mountaintop of expectations. And I know what it feels like to fall.
And I know what it’s like to think it’s time to walk away.
When I holed my last putt at Royal Troon to make the AIG Women’s Open, a major championship at one of the most storied courses in the world, my first professional victory outside of the Cactus Tour, I remembered all those feelings. And a single thought ran through my head as clear as a Scottish church bell.
Thank God I didn’t give up.
For a long time, I didn’t believe winning would be part of my story. I told myself that too much time had passed. Even though I was only 27 years old, I know that the calendar for female athletes, even golfers, is different. The average age of a first-time winner on the LPGA Tour is 23. After winning five events and being a three-time All-American at the University of Southern California, I believed that I would be in the category soon enough. I had grown up playing with people like Jessica Korda and Lexi Thompson, Mariah Stackhouse and Alison Lee. I knew what it took to compete, and I knew that there were times when my game was on par with theirs.