Anne van Dam, at just 24, has already won the Solheim Cup for Europe. Fun and tenacious, the youngster from Holland started playing golf thanks to her father when she was just six years old. When she hit 14, she decided she would make a living out of playing this sport when she was called up for the Dutch national team. At 17, she played her first tournament on the European Tour and this year, she has crossed the Atlantic to compete with the greatest players in the world. At the end of her first season over there, she has made the most of the break to come back to Marbella and defend her title in the Andalusia Costa del Sol Open. This title makes it five that she has won on the Ladies European Tour and, given her meteoric rise, her solid game and her enthusiasm out on the course, we’re sure that there will be plenty more to come.
How do you value your season in USA? It was my first season on the LPGA in America and four seasons living there and it was really good. I played really well and was happy with my game. Now I am excited about having a little bit of time off before I go back in January.
What are your plans for next season? Are you going to play both tours? I’d like to play both, but it’s quite hard to fit it all in, especially with the traveling and the time differences so I think I will mainly focus on the US Tour again. However, if I have a week off like this, I’d always love to come back and play on the European. This is my home, so I’d relish any opportunity to play here.
What is the difference between playing in Europe and the USA? America is different. The level is much, much higher, with more competitions and, of course, more money. Plus, the courses are more difficult which leads to better players.
You have organised a stage of the European Tour to be played at your club, is that right? Yes, we are going to have an event. I think it’s going to be the first week of June, so I am very excited to have a Tournament on my home course.
This is the first one in your country, why do you think that is? I mean, not many European countries have an LET stage. That’s unfortunate for us. Now we have a better CEO, better people running our tour and more money, so it will not be as difficult. We lost a lot of tournaments and trusted sponsors. Now, I think with the help of the LPGA, they have more money. I think next season looks pretty good and from now on, we’ll improve every year.
Describe your Solheim Cup experience. It was the best Tournament so far of my career and we had a lot of fun as a team and with the captain. There were many enjoyable moments and lots of hugs in the end, it was an incredible finish.
How about Catriona being captain again for next Solheim? II was very happy. I’d love her to do it again. She is a very good captain.
The Solheim Cup is possibly coming to Mar-bella in 2023 . What do you think about that? I think it is going to be interesting. I’ve only played in one Solheim Cup and there, everything was very big, and here it is quite small. I’m curious as to how they would set everything up – the hospitality, parking and staff, because there is so much to take care of. Of course, the weather is great here in September, the Costa del Sol is always very nice, it attracts a lot of tourists so many people will come and watch, and I am excited about the pos-sibility of playing in it.
If it’s on the Costa del Sol, do you think it will encourage more people to come? It’s a safe bet for tourism. Lots of people will see the courses on the TV and want to come and play on it themselves.
What about your game? What are you pleased with and where do you need to improve? I just need more experience. This year, in the USA, every course I played on was new for me. Next year, I’ll know all the courses so I can be better prepared.
How far would you like to go in your career?I just like to play, and I am happy. I don’t worry too much about becoming world number one or saying I want to be in the top ten in the world. Of course, those are my dreams, but I just want a keep having fun on the golf course. I treat it very seriously as it is my job and I am under pressure from sponsors and staff, but, above all, I like to play because I have fun and it is my passion. I just want to maintain that as long as possible and play for as long as I can.
What would you have been if you weren’t a golfer? A pilot.
And what about later in your life? I don’t know. I have lots of interests. I’d maybe like to open my own restaurant or a fitness centre, or a combination of both might be the best idea, but I have many interests, so we shall see.