Next year, when the Solheim Cup is played at Finca Cortesín in Málaga, Spain, it will be a decade since the 2013 edition, a tournament that was historic for Spanish golf, as for the first (and only to date), there were three Spanish players in the European team: Azahara Muñoz, Carlota Ciganda and Beatriz Recari.
Will we see a Spanish trio defending the European colours in the Solheim Cup again? Beatriz Recari, a member of that legendary group, has no doubt: “I am convinced that it won’t be long before we see three Spaniards in the European team at the Solheim Cup, because I am sure that the next edition, the first to be played in Spain, will cause a tsunami of interest in women’s golf and will encourage and motivate young golfers. That way, in the future, there will surely be ten or twenty Spanish players at the top of the professional tours”.
The 2013 Solheim Cup, played in Colorado, USA, coincided with one of the best seasons of the player from Navarre, in which she won two tournaments on the LPGA: “2013 was a very good year for me, I got two victories and the culmination of that season was playing the Solheim Cup, which I didn’t go to with any special expectations, I knew it was going to be a totally different and new experience, so I just focused on living the atmosphere, managing the responsibility and controlling my nerves. It’s a completely different week to any other on the circuit”.
Beatriz Recari was one of the six rookies on this team, along with Carlota Ciganda, England’s Jodi Ewart Shadoff and Chalie Hull, Germany’s Caroline Manson and Italy’s Giulia Sergas. However, she had a brilliant debut with Suzann Pettersen, the captain of the European team for the 2023 Solheim Cup: “I have a very special memory of my first match, when I paired up with Suzann Pettersen. I always had a lot of respect for Suzann as a player, so making my debut pairing with her was fantastic. I don’t think I could have had a better partner, she was very attentive to me, supportive and helpful, and we won our first Foursomes match against Brittany Lang and Angela Stanford 2&1.
With that start, it was not surprising that European captain Liselotte Neumann trusted in the Spanish-Swedish duo again for the next day’s Foursomes. But on that occasion, Americans Brittany Lang and Michelle Wie won 2&1.
And that same day, in the afternoon, Beatriz Recari played with the French Karine Icher in the Fourball clashes. They faced Morgan Pressel and Kristie Kerr, one of the most experienced American pairings, but managed to win by 2 up.
“I don’t think I could have had better partners. Both Suzann Pettersen and Karine Icher were great partners and the atmosphere was fantastic. It’s true that I would liked to have been paired with Azahara or Carlota, but the pairings were like that and I think I was very lucky to play with them”.
Before the individual matches on the last day, Beatriz Recari’s numbers on her debut in a Solheim Cup did not go unnoticed: three matches, two victories, one in Fourball and one in Foursomes, and only one defeat.
“I prefer the Foursomes because I’ve always liked the challenge. It’s true that in these matches you have much more responsibility, because if one fails, both fail, but I like it. On the other hand, the Fourball matches are more comfortable, you always have your partner to help you”.
The 35 year old also remembers the nerves she felt when she got off hole 1: “It’s a moment that can’t be compared to any other in golf. When you play normally, you play for yourself and you are the only one affected for your successes or mistakes. But the Solheim Cup it’s totally different, because you play for a team, you represent Europe and you have millions of people watching you, so you feel a much greater responsibility. Fortunately, I was able to control my nerves when I hit my first shot”.
Finally, in her individual match, Beatriz Recari rounded off a Solheim Cup to remember by defeating Angela Stanford, who will be vice-captain at the 2023 Solheim Cup, by 2&1, and doing her bit in a great victory away from Europe by 18-10: “Angela was very polite and respectful. I was always very focused in the matches, so we hardly spoke, but although nobody likes to lose, she behaved very elegantly”.
Looking back, Beatriz Recari remembers the Solheim Cup as “a great experience”. “Overall, I came into the 2013 Solheim Cup with a good feeling and I’m very proud that I was able to handle my inexperience and got three points out of four. In the Solheim Cup, it’s important to focus on bringing the best to the team during that week. If you go in with individual ideas, you are making a mistake. You have to try to get the point you’re playing for. That’s the most important thing.