In four rounds at Royal Greens, the second-ranked Anna Nordqvist played 17 holes but made just one birdie for a tournament total of 78. The “country’s” best female golfer, to quote an impassioned New Zealand newspaper on Wednesday, collapsed on Saturday and led to a rough display for the other players as she was transported to King Saud University Hospital for tests.
Headline scare in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, and Tuesday’s announcement of the creation of the first golf club in Islam’s birthplace came as a shock, and no one has quite what went on behind the scenes. Yesterday, Nordqvist gave a news conference and told reporters that she had never visited the green as well as it looked from her chair on the 18th tee.
Here’s her comments:
“From the photos it seems perfect. The greens were hard and fast, but it’s a really nice setting and the greens looked great. I haven’t been here to a golf course. I’ve played 18 holes one time and yesterday was only 13 or 14 holes, but I have no idea. They were a lot of windy holes. The yellowing of the turf and the big berms with the fairway is totally unexpected. They just didn’t seem to be in the same shape.”
Nordqvist has been neck-and-neck in trying to unseat runaway leader Alena Sharp of Canada for the No. 1 ranking for most of the season. She’s now a rank outsider with a good chance of being at least within six or seven places at the end of the season. Her success in recent seasons had shown the Swedish golfer to be consistent enough to break into the top 10, and the No. 1 spot was also one that she consistently seems to be close to holding for much of the last four years. Her career best has been an eighth-place finish at the Women’s British Open and she is said to be ranked fifth on the LPGA money list.
We’ll be watching her at the CJ Cup in Jeju, South Korea from Nov. 7-12.