Big brother making sure Walker stays on track

KYLIE Walker won’t be allowed any “diva moments” when she defends a professional title for the first time in the Deloitte 
Ladies Open starting today on the outskirts of Amsterdam.

Kylie Walker feels excited about being a defending champion for the first time when she competes in Amsterdam this week  Picture: Phil Wilkinson
Kylie Walker feels excited about being a defending champion for the first time when she competes in Amsterdam this week Picture: Phil Wilkinson

Her caddie will see to that and the fact he also happens to be her big brother means throwing toys out of the pram certainly wont’t be tolerated in this particular working relationship.

“Kris and I didn’t get on at all when I was young,” revealed Walker, as she prepared to put her title on the line at the International Golf Club, where she triumphed in a three-way play-off just over 12 months ago. “I’m four years younger than him and so I was just the wee spoiled brat. He did not like me at all.

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“But, since I got to about 18, we’ve got on great and now I’m so lucky I’ve got him on the bag every week. He’s really good at his job, but is also full of 
nonsense when required. He can distract me when he knows I need to be distracted from my golf. That really helps in tough situations as well.”

If she ever finds herself in any of those off the course, Walker has the comfort of knowing that Kris could be handy then, too, as he’s a lawyer and the nature of caddying still allows him to practise that profession.

“He works in Dubai but, in recent years, he’s gone freelance, so he’s been able to do all his work on the road. He manages to attend meetings around my schedule which is brilliant,” added the 28 year old.

“I know our player-caddie 
relationship isn’t going to last forever, but it’s brilliant for now. He can say things to me that others might not do, and he won’t take rubbish, either. He’s still 
the big brother at the end of the day, and he won’t take any diva moments on the course.”

While the Dutch win was the first leg of a double for Walker on the Ladies European Tour last season, it is the only title she is getting to defend this year due to the Ladies German Open dropping off the schedule. She added:“I’m really excited about being back in the Netherlands.

“It will be the first time in a Tour event that I’ve been a defending champion and I do enjoy being in the spotlight, having more attention when doing well, press attention and things like that. It’s quite good fun.”

Both Walker’s wins last year came in play-offs – she beat Charley Hull in Germany – and her knack of thriving in that pressure-packed situation was underlined recently in a shoot-out at The Buckinghamshire to earn a first US Women’s appearance next month.

“I didn’t know really until that moment how I would react in a play-off under those kind of conditions and under that sort of pressure,” recalled the double St Rule Trophy winner of last year’s victory at a links-style course close to Schipol Airport. “Although you’ve got the butterflies going, I don’t have a feeling of dread – I just feel excitement in those moments. I’ve done well in play-offs and I am really proud of that fact because it is something you don’t really know how you will handle it until you’re there.”

Teeing up in the US Women’s Open – at Lancaster Country Club in Pennsylvania on 9-12 July – will be another “new experience” for Walker, who will return home after that to gear up for both the Aberdeen Asset Management Ladies Scottish Open and Ricoh Women’s 
British Open as they are staged back to back at Dundonald Links and Turnberry respectively.

“I’ve played Dundonald quite a lot recently and the course is the best I’ve seen it – it’s absolutely amazing,” she declared of a venue that will play host to Lydia Ko, Suzann Pettersen and Cheyenne Woods in a free admission event on 24-26 July. “I was brought down by one of my dad’s friends a good few years ago, so I had played it once and remembered that it was a good, tough course.

“It’s definitely a course you’ve got to know, and get to know. That’s why I have started coming down more. It’s going to be a really good week being here before the British Open. I only feel excited by playing in Scotland with the home support. Nobody else’s expectations exceed my own. I’ve got a lot of high expectation for myself, so I don’t really feel that as a pressure.”

Walker heads into her title defence sitting ninth in the points race for this September’s Solheim Cup at St Leon Rot, near Heidelberg in Germany. “The top four qualify automatically so I think I’d probably have to get up to fifth to have a shout of a pick maybe,” she said.

“I would love to make the team this year. I think I’m definitely in the mix, but I need a good couple of months to have [European captain] Carin Koch look at me.”

Seven other Scots are teeing up in the Netherlands, including Pamela Pretswell, who is also in the Solheim Cup running after four top 10s – she was 11th in the other one – in her last five outings to sit seventh on this season’s LET money list.