Nordqvist, Ryu fine-tune games ahead of Evian
For the best in the game, the learning never stops. Anna Nordqvist won the second major of her career last year at the Evian Championship, battling cold and hail in the most peculiar of playoffs against Brittany Altomare. Those eight years in between majors felt like a lifetime to the steely Swede.
During the offseason, Nordqvist dove deeper into work with new swing coach Cameron McCormick, making several trips to Dallas. While positive about the direction they were headed early in the spring, by the U.S. Women’s Open, the eight-time winner had developed a twoway miss, and the pair parted ways.
The consistency in her ball-striking, always a hallmark of Nordqvist’s game, wasn’t quite there. She has ranked in the top three in greens in regulation on the LPGA since 2014. She’s currently 11th in GIR and 25th in driving accuracy.
Nordqvist heads to this week’s Evian Championship beginning Thursday in Evian-les-Bains, France, without a swing coach, something she tried in
“It was always a question of trying to get better and trying to improve on things, but it didn’t quite work out the way I was hoping for,” Nordqvist said. “So just made the decision to trust myself a little bit more, and I’m going without a swing coach. I have a few people around me that I seek advice from, but this is my 10th year as a pro, and I feel like I’ve come to a point where it’s so easy to seek help from everyone else when really you do have a lot of answers within yourself. I feel like I recognize myself again a little bit more in my ballstriking and the way I play the game.”
While Nordqvist went back to basics on her golf swing, another two-time major winner and player to watch this week, So Yeon Ryu, did the same in her mind. Ryu has had streaks of success but would characterize this season as her most inconsistent.
After a Sunday letdown at the Ricoh Women’s British Open last month, Ryu felt burned out when she returned to the tour.
Upon deeper reflection, Ryu said she hadn’t put her full effort into preparation. “When I played in Portland, I realized how much I love the game and how much I love to work hard to improve myself,” Ryu said of the Portland tour stop two weeks ago.
“How much I love playing golf. And then I realized I was always a person that cared about the process more instead of the result. … So right now I’m just totally resetting for everything, preparing for the Evian, and hopefully my new mind-set is going to make me more enjoy the golf.”
There’s something energizing about having a new plan, a new mind-set.
Ryu, like Nordqvist, loves the grind. The South Korean star credits McCormick for making her a more well-rounded major player. Learning how to shape shots has made Ryu a threat in any type of condition.
“It’s like Bubba Watson,” Ryu said. “I just feel like it’s more enjoyable to play like a draw shot, like a fade shot, low shot, high shot. I think that’s the part of the game I really enjoy right now.”
To find success at Evian, a course that’s built on the side of a mountain, Ryu points to accuracy off the tee and a deep arsenal of short-game shots.
With the slopes so severe and ever present, Nordqvist says it’s important to place approach shots on the right side of the flags. And, as always, miss it in the right spot.
In her quest to get back to fundamentals, Nordqvist changed her posture and setup to feel more athletic over the ball. Her consistency in the past was due in part to keeping her swing compact with little movement.
There’s no such thing as standing still in golf. No identical journeys.
Two talented players sought out the same instructor and had differing results. Now they return to the most picturesque of majors, having been to the drawing board for the umpteenth time, eager to put what they’ve learned into practice.