ST. ANDREWS, Scotland – Anna Nordqvist may now be Europe’s best player, but the Swedish star is facing a serious challenge getting ready for the Ricoh Women’s British Open this week and the Solheim Cup in two weeks.
Nordqvist has been diagnosed with glandular fever (mononucleosis), but she is hopeful it won’t keep her from teeing it up in Thursday at Kingsbarns. She played the pro-am on Tuesday.
“I’ve been on bed rest for the last two weeks at home in Sweden,” Nordqvist told GolfChannel.com. “People are concerned that I’m pushing it playing this week, but I’m listening to my doctor. The last few days I’ve actually started to feel better.”
Nordqvist is a vital figure in captain Annika Sorenstam’s plans for the European Solheim Cup team. The matches are scheduled Aug. 18-20 at Des Moines Golf and Country Club in Iowa.
“My major concern is not letting down the team for the Solheim Cup, being fit to fight,” Nordqvist said.
Nordqvist, 30, is the highest ranked European woman in the world at No. 12. The seven-time LPGA winner is 8-7-1 in Solheim Cup play and has never had a losing record in any of her four appearances in the biennial international team event.
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Nordqvist has not played since the U.S. Women’s Open three weeks ago. She withdrew from the Ladies Scottish Open before the first round last week.
“The hardest part of this was calling Annika to tell her I had glandular fever, and that I was going to have to withdraw from the Ladies Scottish,” Nordqvist said.
That’s because withdrawing meant Nordqvist would not meet the minimum Ladies European Tour starts required to qualify for the European Solheim Cup team. She needs a captain’s pick to make the team.
“I hated withdrawing,” Nordqvist said. “I don’t like to quit. Pulling out of the Scottish was my first withdrawal in nine years.”
Nordqvist arrived for the U.S. Women’s Open in early July feeling sick, but she played through it, tying for 33rd. She said she couldn’t shake a sore throat and that had afflicted her off and on for 14 days. She is being treated by Dr. Ara Suppiah, Golf Channel’s “Morning Drive” health expert.
The weather will challenge Nordqvist this week. Rain and cold winds hit Monday and Tuesday with more expected during the competition.
Nordqvist said there’s no timetable for her full health returning. Mononucleosis is tricky malady requiring rest.
“The good thing is I haven’t experienced that extreme fatigue some people get,” Nordqvist said. “It’s a virus that can be in your body for months or even years, but I’m pacing myself and I’ve felt a big difference the last few days.”