Prime-ranked Irish golfer Leona Maguire talks about her hopes for a European win on the upcoming Solheim Cup, what it means for the 28-year-old to symbolize her nation and her continent, and the way she’s discovering life competing on two excursions
First up, how a lot are you wanting ahead to being a part of Staff Europe once more for the upcoming Solheim Cup matches? And how much type do you are feeling that the staff seems to be to be in proper now?
I’m actually wanting ahead to it. I like match play golf, because it sort of brings out the competitor in me. Going head-to-head with one participant, or a few gamers, relatively than a complete subject, provides it an depth that I like. So, sure, I can’t wait to get to Spain and to get caught in.
Lots of Europeans are taking part in effectively. Celine [Boutier] has received thrice this season and twice in latest weeks, Charley [Hull] received within the US final 12 months, Georgia [Hall} has had a good season, and the Swedish players are all playing very well, so the core of the team looks strong. There are couple of new faces in there, such as Linn [Grant] and Gemma [Dryburgh], in addition to some extra skilled ones like Carlota [Ciganda] and Caroline [Hedwall], so I believe we’ve obtained a pleasant steadiness to the staff.
I do know the American staff will likely be robust too. Lilia Vu has received thrice, together with a significant, and Nelly Korda is taking part in effectively, in order that they’ll be a troublesome proposition. Like all 12 months, on paper the US staff most likely seems to be a bit stronger, however when it comes all the way down to it, each groups will likely be actually aggressive. Now we have a fantastic captain in Suzann [Pettersen] and I’m positive she’ll don’t have any downside in getting us all fired up for it.
How did it really feel to be chosen as a wildcard in 2021 and are available out with 4.5 factors and assist Europe to a well-known away win?
That simply gave me the boldness to know that I may compete with one of the best and, on my day, beat them. We obtained beneath the People’ pores and skin that week. All the pieces on paper prompt it will be a whitewash, however we went toe-to-toe with them, with hardly any assist due to the Covid journey restrictions, and it advised me that my recreation is sweet sufficient to beat these ladies.
You loved your breakthrough win on the LPGA Tour final season with victory on the LPGA Drive On Championship and adopted that up with a win on the Meijer LPGA Traditional in June. How would you assess your season to date?
It’s been an odd season, a bit stop-start to start with, however I’ve performed some actually good golf for probably the most half. I had some first rate finishes early within the season, after which I used to be lucky sufficient to get the win in June, and I’ve sort of simply kicked on from there.
All of the majors have been packed very tightly into a number of weeks, so it was vital to seek out your type and preserve that momentum going, and though I performed OK in them, I by no means actually threatened aside from the PGA Championship, the place I used to be main going into the ultimate spherical and simply ran out of gasoline. I believe the win the week earlier than took loads out of me. I used to be fairly drained come Sunday and simply didn’t have sufficient within the tank to recover from the road.
It was clearly a brand new expertise for me to be in within the lead and within the final group on Sunday of a significant, with all of the feelings that went together with that. I’d prefer to assume that if I get myself in that place once more, I’ll method it a bit otherwise and I’ll have discovered from that have.
Whilst you clearly need to carry out effectively in all of your occasions, do you try to construct your schedule round peaking for the majors? And if that’s the case, is there any science to that?
Lots of it comes by way of expertise, determining what works and what doesn’t work. So, you get confidence in understanding that you’re effectively ready, and also you’ve been engaged on the precise issues. On high of that you simply’ve obtained to be mentally ready for the problem and that sort of will get simpler the extra you play in these high occasions. You by no means actually know when it’s going to be your week, so that you simply need to be in the absolute best form when the chance arises so that you simply’re able to seize it with each arms.
What do you are feeling that it’s going to take to make that Main breakthrough?
If you happen to break it down, it’s simply 4 rounds of golf. I’ve had high 10s within the Majors and held the lead after particular person rounds on the Majors, so it’s not 1,000,000 miles away, is it? I’ll embrace the problem, however you’ll be able to’t let your self assume what it will imply, you’ll be able to’t mission.
Are there any particular stuff you’re working with in your recreation for the time being?
I’m making an attempt to make enhancements on a regular basis in all points of my recreation. My driving was one thing that my coach and I paid specific consideration to earlier within the 12 months, getting the accuracy up, however I’ve additionally been engaged on my iron play and my placing extra not too long ago, so there’s by no means something you might be completely proud of.
How have you ever discovered competing in Europe and the States?
Yeah, I’ve clocked up a number of miles going backwards and forwards world wide, that’s for positive. The primary problem is getting used to the contrasting course circumstances – making ready your self for placing on totally different inexperienced speeds and encountering several types of tough, that sort of factor. Lots of the programs are nonetheless new to me, so there’s additionally that to deal with.
The ladies’s skilled recreation appears to be breaking new floor in that some key tournaments are being held at iconic venues which have historically primarily hosted males’s occasions like Pebble Seaside, Baltrusol, and most not too long ago, Walton Heath for the Ladies’s Open. Is that one thing you’ve seen or been excited by?
Sure, there have been plenty of nice venues this 12 months. I believe that’s the thrilling factor for us. Shadow Creek for the Matchplay was a fantastic take a look at, whereas Liberty Nationwide was implausible as effectively. Clearly, Pebble Seaside, Baltrusol, Walton Heath, they’re all massive venues the place I’ve grown up watching the lads play, so one of many extra thrilling issues about our schedule this 12 months is the standard of the programs we’re now beginning to go to.
I’d by no means been to Pebble Seaside earlier than, and it’s a type of locations that each one golfers would like to play one spherical, so we have been lucky sufficient to play a complete week round there. It was nice enjoyable, and I believe we are going to hopefully proceed to be challenged on the world’s high programs.
How do you are feeling in regards to the route the ladies’s skilled recreation goes typically?
I suppose our excursions aren’t fairly as glamorous because the lads. We’re not staying in five-star accommodations each week with our cooks and physios, however on the identical time we’re very fortunate to get to do what we do. And the occasions are enhancing on a regular basis. The prize cash is healthier, we’re getting handled higher, they usually’re placing much more effort into the entire participant expertise, so I actually don’t have a lot to complain about.
As Eire’s top-ranked ladies golfer, and the expectations that include that, are you able to relate to the pressures that Rory McIlroy is beneath?
Rory has much more resting on his shoulders than I do, however all skilled gamers put strain on themselves to be one of the best they are often. When issues are going effectively, it’s all very simple and really rosy, however if you’re struggling to play in addition to you realize you’ll be able to, it’s clearly loads harder.
I’ve been fairly fortunate all through my profession, I suppose. Clearly, I missed Q-College the 12 months I turned professional, which was undoubtedly a giant disappointment, and I needed to mud myself off fairly shortly after that and get on with issues.
Totally different individuals react to totally different adversities in several methods, however I’ve all the time been lucky to have good pals and a supportive household, and my total staff has helped me alongside this journey.
We’re those who hit the photographs, however there are lots of people behind the scenes that assist make our lives a bit simpler. It’s all a steadiness and accepting it’s not all the time simple. Even in case you’re probably the greatest gamers on the earth, it’s not all the time going to be going effectively, so it’s important to not get too excessive with the highs and never get too low with the lows.
You could have a level in psychology. Has that helped together with your psychological method to the sport in any respect?
I’ve my diploma, however I’m actually no professional in it. Lots of my confidence comes from understanding that I’m as ready as I presumably might be going into each single occasion. It’s a complete mixture of all the pieces. I’ve by no means persistently labored with sports activities psychologists. I’ve learn bits and items and I’ve talked to totally different individuals alongside the best way. I’ve picked Paul McGinley’s brains. I’ve picked Padraig Harrington’s brains. I’ve had chats with Graeme McDowell, and I typically ask questions at any time when and wherever I can. I believe you simply pile all of it collectively and decide which bits go well with you at a selected second in time. That’s the factor about golf – and psychology typically – you’ve simply obtained to determine what works finest for you. I don’t assume there’s any magic bullet.
You’ve simply performed within the two occasions in entrance of your own home followers at Galgorm Fortress for the ISPS HANDA World Invitational and at Dromoland for the Ladies’s Irish Open. What was it prefer to play in entrance of that sort of assist?
It was nice. The World Invitational appeared a a lot greater occasion than final 12 months, and we had some gamers over from the LPGA Tour and we have been competing for a similar prize cash because the lads. I believe the most important factor was the crowds and the assist I had at each occasions. That was unbelievable. To play in entrance of house followers for a number of weeks was a pleasant option to cap off a busy and thrilling summer time, and an effective way to arrange for the noise and the assist that we’ll hopefully get on the Solheim Cup.
WHAT’S IN LEONA’S BAG?
Driver: Ping G430 LST (10.5°)
Fairway Woods: Ping G430 Max 3 (15°), Ping G425 Max 5 (17.5°), 9 (23.5°)
Hybrids: Ping G425 (22°, 26°, 30°)
Irons: Ping i210 (7-UW)
Wedges: Titleist Vokey SM7 (55°, 60°)
Putter: Ping Vault Ketsch 2.0
Ball: Titleist Professional V1
LEONA MAGUIRE FACTFILE
BORN: County Cavan, Northern Eire
TURNED PRO: 2018
WORLD RANKING: 14
AMATEUR WINS: 2011 Irish Ladies’s Novice, 2011 Portuguese Women Novice, 2011 Irish Ladies’s Stroke Play, 2012 Irish Women Open, 2012 Irish Ladies’s Novice, 2017 British Women Novice,
PRO WINS: 4 (2 LPGA TOUR, 2 SYMETRA TOUR) – 2019 Symetra Traditional, 2019 Windsor Golf Traditional, 2022 LPGA Drive On Championship, 2023 Meijer LPGA Traditional)
CARRER TOP 10s: 19
BEST MAJOR FINISHES: T4 2022 Ladies’s Open, T6 2021 Evian Championship, T8 US Ladies’s Open, T11 2023 Ladies’s PGA Championship
CAREER EARNINGS: $3.9m
TEAM APPEARANCES: 2015 & 2017 Vagliano Trophy, 2016 & 2021 Olympics, 2021 Solheim Cup
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