“To become a champion, there are different recipes out there. I think, number one, you have to be true to yourself.”
I’m not really sure why I had some success early on in my career, I wasn’t necessarily the tallest, the strongest, the fastest. To become a champion, there are different recipes out there. I think, number one, you have to be true to yourself. Number two is to enjoy what you do. Number three, hard work. Like my dad told me a long time ago, there are no shortcuts to success. The most beautiful thing that golf has taught me is to be patient. You might have one good hole, but in golf we play 18 holes! To be good at something takes time and you have to always explore and find different ways to elevate your skills. Golf is not just physical, it’s mental also — you have to believe in yourself, you have to trust yourself.
In 1994, I was Rolex Rookie of the Year on the LPGA, and it feels so close, as if it happened yesterday. It was in that year that I realized that I made the right decision to turn professional. Finally here I was on the biggest stage, the biggest tour in the world for women. There’s no doubt that it’s very prestigious. If you look at previous Rolex Rookie of the Year winners, they all had super careers, Nancy Lopez, Pat Bradley…many big names have been there. It wasn’t until 1995 that I really had my breakthrough year, winning tournaments and becoming Rolex Player of the Year, but you always have to have a year like that  to set up for the next.
It was also then that I actually got to pick a Datejust. I had never really seen one other than in magazines, my parents never had one, so it was very special. I still have it today.
I was proud to put on my first Rolex ever as it planted a seed for the future. And it’s been a great partnership, it kick-started my career. That was the beginning of not just the watch itself but the memories and the partnership, the experiences. I realized that you can’t hurry experience, that you can’t buy experience, that you just have to live experience.
I bought myself another Datejust exactly 20 years after getting my first one. If it would have had a passport, it would have a lot of stamps in it.
I had it engraved on the back: “With Rolex 20 years”. It really summarizes my whole career in a way, starting with the Rookie of the Year and moving up to Player of the Year and then certainly my victories, and my Hall of Fame induction.
It reminds me of the career I had more than I ever thought I could. I think it’s the memories that come to my mind, the journey along the way, and the support.