The emotions are enough to make your first victory as a professional golfer something you’ll never forget. Now imagine, on top of the emotional adrenaline, if that the same victory gets you into the Olympics, earns you an exemption into a major, the Amundi Evian Championship, and puts you in the top 10 of the Epson Tour.
I mean, it’s hard to put into words, right?
But when I won the Island Resort Championship in June of 2021 in Harris, Michigan, that’s exactly what happened. I qualified for the Olympics, fulfilled a lifelong dream of ‘qualifying’ to compete in the Amundi Evian Championship, and put myself in a great position to earn my LPGA Tour card.
But what if your situation only allows you to realize two of those things? What now?
Fortunately, I knew that there was absolutely no chance I’d miss the Evian. I grew up across Lake Geneva in Lausanne, Switzerland. Shortly after I picked up the game, I became a part of this group – Golf and Girls – and we took a few trips to watch the event since it was only an hour away.
To be honest, I never knew who I was watching or who ended up winning. But to this day, I remember feeling so inspired watching those women compete.
The choice to play in that same tournament was a simple one, an obvious lifelong dream. There was no way I was turning that down.
So, the question was: The Olympics or earning my LPGA Tour card?
An impossible decision
I won’t lie, it was a really tough decision. In order to go to the Tokyo Olympics, I would have had to miss four Epson events in a row, likely pushing me outside of the top 10. That was a huge risk, one that I didn’t feel comfortable making. After all, earning my LPGA card was on the line.
There’s no right or wrong way to make decisions and no one would have faulted me either way in this situation. That’s almost what made it tougher.
Even though it was a gradual process for me to embrace the life of a professional golfer in my teenage years, I realized that playing the game at the highest level has been my goal since I decided to leave for college in the states.
Back then, I knew that if I wanted to take golf to the next level without jeopardizing academics, I’d have to leave Switzerland. And frankly, I wasn’t ready to do that until I felt like my game was where it needed to be.
Even after committing to Florida State, I was still not overly confident if this was the right path for me.
But once I started seeing success in college, I was all-in. This was the kind of decision most athletes would dream of having to make.
The Olympics or the LPGA Tour? Having to decide between those two things was torturous.
The path to this point was filled with a lot of challenges. In 2019, I was forced to grind through an excruciatingly long shoulder rehab where I saw multiple surgeons and specialty doctors — just to leave me undiagnosed.
I didn’t hit a shot from February until November of that year. I took an administrative job back home in Switzerland. But no matter what I went through, I held onto my ultimate goal.
I wanted to be a professional golfer. Getting to the LPGA Tour was what kept me optimistic and hopeful.
It was hard realizing that the Olympics weren’t aligned with my goals at the time. Once I understood that getting my LPGA Tour card was more important to my career, I still tossed and turned at night, wondering if I had made the right decision.
But there was a consolation with turning down a spot on the Switzerland Olympic Team. Because I withdrew, my sister, who plays on the Ladies European Tour and who was my teammate at FSU, was able to go.
That was the positive side effect I needed to stand proudly by my decision.
I think life is about the sum of our choices. So far, my intuition has gotten me exactly where I need to be. Maybe I will regret my decision to forego the Olympics one day. But I don’t see that day coming, because I chose to honor the path that I’ve set out to achieve.
There have been so many signs along my way pointing me to professional golf. While it seems like this situation — competing at the Evian Championship, representing Switzerland at the Olympics, or having a shot at the LPGA Tour – would be a career-defining moment, simply confirmed what I really want.
To be a professional golfer.
When I was going through that shoulder issue, I had probably the biggest “aha” moment of my career. Being hurt made me realize how much I want this. It made me realize that no matter how hard it may be at times, I’m not going to give up.
Now that I’ve earned my LPGA Tour card, I finally get to experience it all.
And who knows, maybe you’ll see me representing my home country at the Olympics in 2024.