To say that Carlota Ciganda (Pamplona, 29 years old) was born with a golf club under her arm is to exaggerate … But not so much.
Little Carlota walked behind her father and some friends around the Ulzama golf club with a five-handed iron, but it wasn’t the only thing he did. «I also played football, fronton … I was always out, always playing sports. I played futsal, and it was technically good with the ball, but it was only two years, it was very small and if I catch a ball now … », he says in a telephone conversation. The fact of giving the ball with his feet came from family, because he is a niece of Cuco Ciganda, now coach of Real Oviedo and who was a footballer of Athletic Club and Osasuna. But the clubs ended up being his sport because it was a challenge to be so technical.
The adult Carlota walks through a supermarket in Arizona, United States, and meets the Spanish NBA player Ricky Rubio, who plays in the Phoenix Suns and is half a neighbor. «And I introduced myself; He is a very nice boy, in fact he has left me tickets several times to see the Suns … I always follow Spanish athletes and he is doing very well. I wish him the best, ”says the Navarrese player, who lives there and, when travel and tournaments allow it, has a day-to-day look like this:“ I wake up in the morning, I go to the gym, which is important to travel so much to be better physically, to avoid injuries, to feel flexible and strong; and I train six days a week. I rest one. I’m 7 or 8 hours a day hitting balls, playing, playing ».
It was partly golf that brought Carlota to the United States. «In Spain it is difficult to study and do a sport and here they told me that it was compatible, that you could study and play in a very good league, and so it is. Until I went to the University to the United States, I wasn’t sure. I liked it, but … I studied at Arizona State for three years [se licenció en Administración y Dirección de Empresas] and I saw the fields and the American world and I said to myself: “I want to live from it” », remember, although one of the tolls is “missing the family.” It is in Spain about three months: “One at Christmas, two weeks in summer and some more,” he says. He worked his career playing first in Europe for two years successfully and then focused on the American circuit: «Secrets in the end there is not. You should go slowly. Now things are going very well for me and I am playing well, but I have been a professional for nine years, which is a lot of effort, ”he says.
On his resume there are already six professional victories and several “top 10” in Majors tournaments, including a third place in the U.S. Women’s Open of 2018. It is now the sixteenth in the world, the European in the best position, but it has become among the top 10 on a list dominated by Asians. “They are very hardworking, practically machines, there are many, there is a Korean tour, a Japanese one, which allows them to compete with each other and when they come here they are ready. They are dominating golf now, yes, ”says Carlota, who also claims to be the first winner of the AON Challenge, an initiative that launched the LPGA Tour in 2019 to reward the most aggressive player. The prize was a million dollars and Carlota received it with an emotional speech in which she could not contain the tears. But what is being aggressive in golf? «I hit the ball quite hard, which allows me to be able to pull two in pairs five to green. It allows me to have shorter green strokes, I can play more flag, leave it closer in some holes and yes, I am a person who likes risk, go for the flag. I like to win, and it’s a bit what I try, ”he explains.
The Spanish is more to think about day to day, but 2020 is not an ordinary year, it is Olympic and that is in your mind. It will be his second participation after Rio 2016, where he started well and fell. But he has a good memory. «The experience was great and I had the opportunity to see other sports, I saw Rafa win with Marc López the gold, girls and boys basketball… Meeting people, being in the Villa, was fantastic, “he recalls before citing his goal in Tokyo:” A medal. “