Home Inverness colorado “I want to play the Solheim Cup”

“I want to play the Solheim Cup”


Azahara Muñoz has made dreams come true all her life, from her first attempts in amateur golf in federative tournaments to international events also as an amateur she has played on both sides of the Atlantic, whether on the links that host the Girls Amateur Championship or the British Ladies Amateur or on the courses that have seen her win the NCAA Individual Championship or made her to the PING Junior Solheim Cup team.

The Malaga-born player turned professional in 2009 and went on to achieve goals and win titles. She became the first Spaniard to ensure continuity in a competition as demanding as the Solheim Cup, winning the trust of four different captains (2011, 2013, 2015 and 2019), and opening the door to Carlota Ciganda, an inseparable friend, from 2013, the year of the Navarrese’s debut.

In recent memory of the tournament played this year at Inverness Club in Ohio, where an uninhibited European team imposed its quality and self-confidence on the American team, Azahara Muñoz (who did not play on this occasion) is clear that his dream is to return to the team in 2023.

The four European victories in the last six editions, from his point of view, are a logical consequence of the great work of the European team and its captains.

Azahara Muñoz, statements

“Today we believe in it, we are convinced that we can do it and the team is better.

When I played my first PING Junior Solheim Cup 18 years ago, I was 15 or 16 and there were players from the Ladies European Tour who had never played in America. If one of those players faced an American who didn’t even know her opponent’s name, it was like she was already three down on the first tee,” Muñoz recalled.

“Now all the European players are very good, they have won, they play on the LPGA Tour and play in the Majors and although the Americans are still at the top of the world rankings, in match play we Europeans are more connected and we play as a team.

Now, we don’t think we’re just going to have fun at Sunday’s party. We arrive thinking that we are going to win the Cup”. Azahara Muñoz made his debut in 2011 at the Solheim Cup held in Ireland, at Killeen Castle, at a tricky time for LET golfers.

After three consecutive defeats, Alison Nicholas, the European captain, fired for the youth with six players under 27: Melissa Reid, Anna Nordqvist, Christel Boeljon, Caroline Hedwall, Sandra Gal and Azahara Muñoz, the last three chosen by her .

Although five of those six were rookies, they had previously played on the LPGA Tour and formed unbreakable relationships living away from home. Azahara got off to the best possible start, beating Stacy Lewis and Angela Stanford in day one foursomes with Catriona Matthew, and tying the next day against Cristie Kerr and Paula Creamer, another solid American couple.

After losing with Maria Hjorth in the four-ball matchday two to Paula Creamer and Brittany Lincicome, Europe were tied in the singles session, which was generally in favor of the Americans. On the final day, with a heroic return from Hedwall, Muñoz and Pettersen, Europe confirmed victory when Azahara birdied the 17th hole of the Irish course against Angela Stanford.

“It’s been a spectacular week in Ireland, especially how we got back on the last day. I was very young, 22-23, a kid, and that made me believe and know that I could do anything. The pressure was incredible. I had never felt so nervous, putting while my hands were shaking, and when you realize that you can play under so much pressure, you know that you can play in all circumstances.

It helped me to believe in myself and to realize that we want to play a lot more Solheim Cups, and it’s very motivating. You say to yourself, “It’s a Solheim year. Let’s go,” summarized Muñoz.

After the magnificent triumph in Ireland, the 2013 edition was played at the Colorado Golf Club, historic for Spanish golf due to the presence of three Spanish players in the team led by Liselotte Neumann. Carlota Ciganda, Azahara Muñoz and Beatriz Recari earned seven points from the ten they played and gave Europe 38% of the points that went up on the European scoreboard.

Beyond the numbers, their contribution was decisive in the first European victory on American soil, combining determination, quality and solidity to win for the first time in the United States and finish with the biggest gap in history. of the Solheim Cup: 18 to 10 for Europe .

Additionally, Azahara Muñoz and Carlota Ciganda relived the fondest memories of their time in national teams where they were a historic pair in foursomes without anyone beating them, and made their debut as a duo in fourballs on day two, beating Gerina Piller and Angela Stanford.

“We knew we could do it, but one thing is to think you can do it, and another is to win. It’s just unbelievable. It’s very difficult to win in the United States with the crowd against you. , which is why it has never happened before,” Muñoz explained.

“We wanted the Cup. We wanted to win in the United States for the first time. But I think the most important thing is that we wanted to win for Lotta (Liselotte Neumann, European captain). It’s great to be next to her, she made us feel very comfortable.

She really deserved it. We were all thinking about it and we wanted to do it for her,” Azahara recalled. In 2015, for the third consecutive edition, Azahara Muñoz returned to the team led this time by Carin Koch, but the United States won a very narrow victory of only one point.

The Malaga player will have to wait four years, until the edition of Gleneagles, to get rid of the bitter taste in the mouth of this defeat in Germany. Regardless of the teammates she has been paired with in the tournament, Azahara Muñoz is clear about what the main attraction of the Solheim Cup is for her: “The best thing is the team.

I like to play in a team and I will take the experience, the dinners, the experiences, the games with my teammates. I love everything that happens in the locker room. I talk to Americans and they are not like that. We’re an amazing team, everyone gets along great and we all support each other.

It’s amazing how united the team is, how well you get along with the players, especially the ones you’re paired with,” summed up Muñoz. His absence from the victorious team in Ohio in 2021 allowed him to “savor” another side of the competition and to be aware of what the Solheim Cup is dragging in the news.

“Now there is more media impact around the competition and I noticed that a lot watching it from the other side and following it on TV and on social media. The fact that the final was so close also helped, of course,” she explained.

Now Azahara Muñoz is expecting her first child, a circumstance that will cause an inevitable break in her career, but the Malaga native is clear she will fight to be in the first Solheim Cup to be played in Spain.

“I don’t know how things will turn out because my life will be very different when I have my child, but I want to play the Solheim Cup in 2023. It would be my dream. It would probably be the last, I’m getting old, but playing another Solheim Cup and doing it at home would be amazing because it would mean I would have played well that year as well.

I won’t have much time to qualify, but I will do everything to be there”. Regarding the atmosphere at Finca Cortesín and the attractions that Andalusia and the Costa del Sol offer for the Solheim Cup 2023 to serve as a turning point, just like the Ryder Cup held in 1997 in Valderrama, Azahara is very clear: “The 1st tee of Finca Cortesin is going to be crazy and the Spaniards are going to make a lot of noise”, declares Muñoz.

“On the other hand, the Costa del Sol is a place that everyone wants to visit. When I say I’m from Marbella, almost everyone in the US knows where that is. It is a destination that people want to visit, whether they come from Europe or America.

Finca Cortesin is a great course and it will be beautifully maintained. It is a great course for match play, it will bring a lot of excitement and it will put Spain at the top of the game.”