Many paths can lead to the goal, sometimes even detours

SOME may see my return home, to Europe, and to the Ladies European Tour, as a step back. I don’t see it that way. It’s rather a different path that leads to the same goal, which is still membership in the LPGA Tour, the world’s top league. And not only that, I also plan to play for the European team at the Solheim Cup, the majors and my third Olympic Games in Paris 2024. But this all requires quite a lot of points, and those are hard to come by on the Epson Tour. Playing in Europe and in front of my fans is still not only a matter of my heart, but today it is also a very lucrative business. Just a year ago, none of us could have even imagined that we would compete for as much as five million dollars on the LET.

When I flew to America four years ago, I didn’t really know what I was getting myself into. It was as if someone threw me in the water after nine years on the Ladies European Tour and I suddenly had to learn to swim again. But I was really looking forward to the new environment and eventually got used to it rather quickly. But with that came great responsibility. After all, the LPGA is the best and toughest tour in the world.

The truth is that I got plenty of help in the beginning from Sandra Gal, who back then had just moved to Sarasota from Orlando. She recommended me a place to stay, a club and a golf course, plus I also had someone to practice and play with. But I had to rely on myself in a lot of things. All in all, it was nice and a great challenge, too.

How much does it cost to live in Florida? From zero to nonsense. Depending on which location you choose. But let’s say that a year in Sarasota and an entire season on the LPGA Tour costs millions Czech crowns.

What I missed most in the United States was the European culture and atmosphere. You have to drive everywhere. Many times there are no sidewalks in cities and everything is very far away. Safety is another issue – you should think twice about going out in the evening. Not every city is completely risk-free. It is not like here, where there are always a lot of people in the streets even after dark and you still feel safe.

The difference between Florida and Europe is services. In the US, there is always someone who can advise you or help you with anything. Such as that you always find a parking space, or somebody takes care of your car. Especially in Florida where people move to retire and everything is well taken care of. Plenty of comfort and convenience. People in Florida are also more communicative. I wouldn’t say friendlier, but everyone likes to chat with you and wishes you good luck. People are just curious, they want to talk, but true friendship rarely develops from this.

America showed me a different perspective on life and taught me to keep my head open. I can now improvise more and no longer just stick to what I had planned. I am open to all possibilities and ready for anything that may come. No one knows what happens next, and the path to your goal can sometimes be pretty winding. And many times you need to take a detour to get where you wanted. Just like this one that now leads to Europe, but may end up back on the LPGA Tour.

I actually started thinking about playing in Europe after the tournaments in Beroun and Berlin. Suddenly there was a chance to get the LET card, and have more peace of mind and a backup plan. Moreover, I didn’t have to play the December Q-series LPGA Tour.

I had a slow start in the season,  but that’s how it always is for me. Then Sean helped me a lot when he flew to me after seven weeks of not seeing each other and caddied for me at a few tournaments. All of a sudden things started to go well, my game settled down and within 11 weeks I not only had seven top 10s, but also my second professional title on the Ladies European Tour.

The change is also good for my other partners, and it actually made them (as well as the fans) happy. I will spend more time in the Czech Republic, so I will have more time for them. Everyone welcomed it, including Sean, but he would support me no matter where I play. He’s a true friend in need, and that’s why I’m marrying him at the end of December. Now he will have me at home for at least a year.

The goals are clear. Play for top 10, for the majors, for a spot in the Solheim Cup and, of course, at my third Olympic Games, Paris 2024. And then there’s one more thing. A big vote awaits us as LET members. If we make the right decision, we will play directly for cards on the LPGA Tour. There won’t be many of them, but at least the top 3 can be a ticket to the top league. Golf is changing, and men will also be playing for 10 cards for the PGA Tour on the DP World Tour next year, so they could give us at least five.

It will be great to have other Czech players next to me at tournaments. Although each of us is different, we are one group. Not just players, caddies too. It had to come one day and it’s very nice. I don’t see them as competition, it’s mostly a big advantage for everyone. No one will now feel like they are alone in the tournament. When I started, I could lean only on Zuzka Kamasová, and now, after 11 years, there are five of us on the tour! I myself am surprised at how determined they all are, how they can take care of themselves and how they are not afraid of anything. They have great confidence and fit in perfectly on the tour. The truth is, however, they are not sixteen like I was when I played my first professional tournament.

That decision was both logical and pragmatic. Just look at how many tournaments there are on the LET and what prize money is being played for. Right at the start of the season, we will be playing at the Royal Greens in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia for the prize money of five million dollars. In fact, this is the same amount that men play for on the same golf course on the Asian Tour. Moreover, I spent nine years on the LET, so it grew close to my heart. For me, it was a decision made not only by reason, but also by heart.

I want to play as many tournaments as possible and jump into the season right after the New Year, so that I have enough time to play before Jeddah, where big money will be up for grabs. But it should not be more than 25 tournaments in the season. This still would be a tournament every other week, so we’ll see.

I don’t know yet when exactly will I start the season. I going on a honeymoon trip to Costa Rica at the turn of the year, where Sean had lived for a few months and he says he knows it, but I’m very tempted by Kenya and a return to Morocco. Anyway, I would like to be preparing in warm Florida already from January. – WITH MONIKA TAUCHEN

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