Denmark is still waiting for its first major golf champion. How many of us would cheer if Nanna Madsen (pictured) were to do Danish golf proud and become her country’s first major winner?
Quite a few is the short answer.
Well done Anna Nordqvist on winning her third major and her first AIG Women’s Open, but plaudits to Madsen for how she handled herself after the disappointment of a double bogey on Carnoustie's final hole when a par would have seen her in a playoff.
The 26 year old could have been forgiven for walking off the 18th green and heading straight to the locker room, or getting in her car and exiting stage left after her six at the last left Nordqvist with a two-putt par to win. She didn’t do a Colin Montgomerie and stomp off in a huff. She did the professional thing and fronted up.
“I was nervous all day,” she admitted. “Did really well in trying to still hit good shots, trying not to make mistakes and, on 18, I tried to not make a mistake and that was the only thing I shouldn't do.
“I'm really proud. I had a chance all the way till 18, also on 18 fairway. So I haven't even had a chance on the back nine on a Sunday yet, so I'm very pleased and I now have a way to get there, and I just need to finish the last hole, as well.
“I'm really proud of what I've been working on and I do believe that it's going to come in the future.
“It's okay to be nervous.”
It sure is. She’s right to be proud. She put herself in position to win a major championship, and not many are able to say that. A Solheim Cup pick from Catriona Matthew will help assuage her heartbreak. It’s fully deserved after her Carnoustie performance.
Madsen joins Nordqvist on the European team to play the United States at the Inverness Club in Toledo, Ohio, 4-6 September. She might do well to have a wee chat with her Swedish teammate. Nordqvist is yet another player who has experienced the euphoria of winning majors only to plough the depths through loss of form, confidence. The Women’s Open was the Swede’s first win in four years, since collecting her second major trophy in the 2017 Evian Championship.
Things got so bad for Nordqvist she dropped out of the world top 100. Her form wasn’t helped when she developed mononucleosis during 2017.
Now she’s the third most successful European woman golfer after Annika Sorenstam with 10 major wins and Laura Davies with four. They are the only three Europeans to win three or more.
Madsen will be happy with just one.
Here’s the thing, though: We can relate to Madsen more than Nordqvist. We know full well the jitters Madsen experienced on the 18th fairway. It happens to us all the time.
How often have we ruined a good round through nerves? The heartbeat quickens, we get ahead of ourselves and think of what we need to do over the final few holes to better our handicap, win the monthly medal/stableford, a club knockout competition, or even just beat a close friend we haven’t beaten in a while. Our carefully crafted pre-shot routine goes out the window, we get quick and that nice rhythmical swing we’ve had for 15, 16, 17 holes suddenly looks like something Zorro would play with. We come up out of the shot, the ball sails wide right and there goes our wee dream.
Bloody stupid game!
Madsen has five chances of major glory next year. I hope she takes at least one of them. It would almost be poetic justice.
#JustSaying: “Golf giveth and golf taketh away, but it taketh away a hell of a lot more than it giveth.” Simon Hobday
Photograph courtesy of the Ladies European Tour