Solheim Cup: Anna Nordqvist happy to have husband Kevin McAlpine in European camp

Anna Nordqvist, the AIG Women’s Open champion, is pleased that her Scottish husband Kevin McAlpine won’t have divided loyalties in this week’s Solheim Cup in Ohio.

Anna Nordqvist speaks at a press conference ahead of the Solheim Cup at Inverness Golf Club in Toledo, Ohio. Picture: Tristan Jones.

In the 2017 match held in Des Moines, former Scottish Amateur champion McAlpine was caddying for US player Lexi Thompson at a time when Nordqvist was his girlfriend.

The two players faced each other in the opening match in the last-day singles, ending up all square before the hosts claimed a 16.5-11.5 victory.

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“Obviously having to play him in the singles wasn't my favourite moment,” admitted Nordqvist of McAlpine being on Thompson’s bag for that event in Iowa.

CARNOUSTIE, SCOTLAND - AUGUST 22: Anna Nordqvist of Sweden poses with husband, Kevin McAlpine, on the 18th green after winning the AIG Women's Open at Carnoustie Golf Links on August 22, 2021 in Carnoustie, Scotland. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)

“But I think at the time that match was probably the best thing that could have happened to him and to me and for him to keep his job and for him to keep his girlfriend at the time.”

McAlpine, who now works for fellow Scot Martin Laird on the PGA Tour, is heading to Inverness Golf Club in Toledo for Saturday’s start in the 17th edition of the biennial contest.

“It's a lot easier when I don't have to play against him,” admitted a smiling Nordqvist, who is making her seventh appearance in the event, which sees Catriona Matthew leading Europe for a second time after a dramatic victory in the 2019 match at Gleneagles.

The Swede’s success in last month’s AIG Women’s Open at Carnoustie was watched by McAlpine and other members of his family, including dad and Dundee United legend Hamish.

Asked how the celebrations for her third major victory had gone in Perthshire on the Sunday night, Nordqvist, laughing, replied: “You have nothing to worry about. I got the trophy home safely to the US.

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“I had to leave the house at 4am to catch my flight. I didn't have much to drink, but I was exhausted because I forgot my computer in security and I didn't realise until I got to London.

“We had a great dinner, just seeing friends and family, and I was excited to get back to the US after 10 weeks on the road.”

Nordqvist, who has played on three winning Solheim Cup sides in her career, played down the significance of being a major champion again heading into this tussle.

“No,” she said to being asked if she felt her stature had grown on the back of the title triumph in Angus. “That's not really important to me.

“I love competing and majors are amazing and it's a great accomplishment. I'm always going to be proud of it. But I'm just going to keep pushing trying to get better and that's my focus every day.”

Suzann Pettersen, who holed the winning putt in Perthshire two years ago, is one of Matthew’s assistant captains on this occasion along with Laura Davies and Kathryn Imrie.

“She just brings a lot of passion and once the tournament starts she will be right there with us every step of the way,” said Nordqvist of the Norwegian.

“I actually cried the last Solheim Cup, that last night because I knew she was done. It was nice to see her make that final putt, knowing how much the Solheim Cup meant to her.”

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