There were times I thought about quitting. I lost my motivation and inspiration for the game. My younger brother, Mattias, came out to caddy for me one summer. It changed my life. With him on my bag, I rediscovered the love I had for the game we had played together as children. That summer, I started to fight again. I felt inspired again. When times have been tough, my family has always brought me back. It takes a lot to be at the top of the women’s game. I’m forever grateful to them for helping me rediscover my passion for golf. I realized that sometimes you have to fall out of love with the game to fall back in love with it. And Mattias played a huge part in helping me do that.
2017 would prove to be my hardest year yet. That summer, I was diagnosed with mononucleosis. I was exhausted and had no idea why. For months, I had been struggling with the illness that is known for creating debilitating fatigue. Here I was, traveling the world, trying to compete at the highest level, but I was sick. I didn’t have the energy that I used to. To make matters worse, I hadn’t competed in the number of events I needed in order to qualify for the European Solheim Cup Team. I’d been a member of the team since I joined the Tour in 2009, and now I’d have to rely on my fellow countrywoman, Annika Sorenstam, to pick me for her team. I did everything I could to prove I was a worthy choice, despite still battling mono. I finished in the top 10 at the AIG Women’s Open to earn one of Sorenstam’s four captain’s picks. I was relieved, but still felt I had something to prove to be part of the team.
I missed the cut in my next event. And in September, I wasn’t even sure I’d be able to compete at the Amundi Evian Championship. I had zero energy and the weather turned horrible. But each day, I felt my Grandpa was with me. He died of cancer in 2014 and no longer sent me little messages and notes of encouragement. Instead, I had to rely on the words he taught me that I held close to my heart. Never give up.
During Evian, the biggest battle wasn’t against the field or even against Brittany Altomare in the playoff. The biggest battle was against myself. I was very grateful to be there. The biggest challenge was to keep up my energy and keep myself in place. Looking back on that final day, knowing I won without feeling 100 percent and still being able to push through like my grandfather taught me, is one of the proudest moments of my career.
As brutal as it was that Sunday afternoon at Evian – with the rain, the sleet and wind – I felt an eerie sense of calm. It was so bone-chilling cold that I couldn’t feel my hands. But I felt the warmth and support of my family.
I usually associate my Grandpa with water. When I hear water. When I see water. In fact, his ashes were spread in water. So maybe it wasn’t a coincidence that it was pouring down rain that Sunday. It’s just one of those things you can’t describe. But it just means so much to me.