Carlota Ciganda’s numbers at the Solheim Cup make her the best Spanish player in the history of the competition on her own merits. With five consecutive participations (2013, 2015, 2017, 2019 and 2021), the golfer from Navarre has accumulated 19 matches played, won 7, lost 8 and drew 4, but she does not see herself as one of the team leaders at the next Solheim Cup.
“It is true that having played five Solheim Cups gives you that experience that other younger players obviously do not have, but there is a lot of level and quality in Europe. My goal is to make the team on my own merits and help Europe lift the cup in Spain. I think it’s achievable and we’re going for it”.
To qualify for the European team for the Solheim Cup, Carlota does not prepare a specific schedule: “I always try to get as well as possible to the summer, to the majors and, obviously, to the Solheim Cup in the years that it is played”. Although she does recognise that the Grand Slam tournaments are the ones that motivate her the most. “I always want to play well in the majors. You always try to be the best you can every week you compete, but the majors have a point of difficulty that motivates me a lot and I like to make good results. This weeks require patience and to be mentally well”.
Remembering the Solheim Cups she has played
With five editions behind her in which she has experienced everything, victories and defeats, Carlota Ciganda tells us about her memories and feelings in each of them.
In her first competition, in 2013, Carlota achieved three wins in as many matches, an almost perfect debut: “I remember that edition with great affection and it was incredible because it was the first time that Europe beat the USA at home. It was all very nice. We were five or six rookies in the team, with a lot of energy, and the veterans like Suzann Pettersen were fundamental, bringing their experience. On a personal level, playing with Suzann was a dream, and start with her winning was incredible.
Indeed, in that Solheim Cup, Carlota made her debut playing with Suzann Pettersen, who will be captain in 2023, and they also defeated Stacey Lewis and Lexi Thompson. Stacey Lewis, who will also be the American captain at Finca Cortesín. “I remember it was a very tough match, I was very nervous but playing with Suzann helped me a lot. Seeing how she went around the golf course, with confidence and grit at the same time, gave me a lot of peace of mind”.
In 2015 Europe lost to the USA by one point (14.5 – 13.5). Although Carlota’s particular balance was good (one win, two draws and one loss), when you lose by such a small difference, it leaves a bad taste: “It was a shame because we had the victory very close. The American golfers played very well in the singles and turned the score around, and I remember some very good matches with Mel Reid (Carlota Ciganda tied one match and won another with the English player).
In 2017 Europe had no chance against the USA. Carlota Ciganda, like the rest of the team, did not find her best game and lost her three pairs matches, although she made up for it by winning her individual match against Brittany Lincicome. “This edition is possibly the one I remember the least. We didn’t play well and the Americans were fair winners”.
In 2019 Europe got revenge and defeated the USA in what for many is the best Solheim Cup to date because of Suzann Pettersen’s putt that sealed the victory. Since the 2013 Solheim Cup, Carlota Ciganda’s relationship with Suzann Pettersen has been a mixture of friendship and admiration: “Suzann is a very good friend, I have always admired her a lot, I was lucky enough to do a couple of pre-seasons with her in Orlando (USA) and I saw why he had come so far in his career”.
“Gym every morning, good training routines and a lot of self-confidence. She has always pushed herself hard and that’s why she has achieved so much. I think she’s worked really hard and I was glad she ended her career with that putt at Gleneagles on the last hole to win the Solheim Cup. And all of that after she became a mother. It was like a movie”.
“Suzann has always reminded me a little bit of Tiger. I think when she played, she was very imposing, but particularly after the first Solheim Cup I played with her, we got on very well. She really likes Spain and is looking forward to the Solheim Cup, which will be played at Finca Cortesín next September.
In 2021 Carlota Ciganda experienced another European victory over the USA, this time for the second time in a row, something that is not at all easy and which makes winning a third time in Spain something historic. “It is clear that the American team will come to the Costa del Sol with a lot of desire and they are not going to make it easy for us. The American players have a lot of quality, but the European team also has very good golfers and we will be able to compete head to head against them. And besides, playing at home and with the support of the crowd, anything is possible”.
In this review of the Solheim Cup that Carlota Ciganda has experienced, the player from Navarre appears alongside Azahara Muñoz as the pair that has played the most fourball matches in the European team, with a total of three, along with two other pairs, formed by Laura Davies/Alison Nicholas and Catrin Nilsmark/Annika Sorenstam. This means that in this 2023 edition, both players could break the tie: “I would love to play with Azahara once again, and also in Spain, which we like so much. ‘Aza’ has had very good performances in the Solheim Cup, she has a lot of grit and I hope we can play together again at Finca Cortesín”.