Anna Nordqvist: ”I’m trying to get my US passport now.”

Written by By Bryan Becculeri, CNN London First impressions are the most important to most golfers as they walk onto the tee. Anna Nordqvist is one of those who will probably tell you: ‘I…

Anna Nordqvist: ''I'm trying to get my US passport now.''

Written by By Bryan Becculeri, CNN London

First impressions are the most important to most golfers as they walk onto the tee. Anna Nordqvist is one of those who will probably tell you: ‘I first hit a ball back on the range.’

“I got into golf for fitness. I played bad golf but could run after it,” says the Sweden-born 30-year-old, of her start to the sport. “I didn’t know what was going on and I thought, I’m going to start playing now.’ She continues, “That was in 2002 in my hometown in Norway.”

Though golf is often played on a major international tour with thousands of participants, Nordqvist has been playing on the Asian Tour since 2006, securing a win at the 2009 Indonesia Women’s Open. The veteran of more than 200 events has three LPGA events in the diary this season, including the season-ending Safeway Classic, and is pushing for a spot on the LPGA’s playoffs next month.

In Saudi Arabia, Nordqvist was born in Sweden to a Norwegian father and Swedish mother, though she is now a citizen of the Scandinavian nation and a second-generation professional. Despite her high profile in one of the world’s most passionate golf markets, her early experiences were still uncomfortable, and she says her tennis roots played an important role in her decision to take the plunge.

“I was hit for three straight weeks playing tennis,” she explains. “Tennis is my favorite sport and in practice, I’d be in the space between the net and the net before I realised.”

Once she was settled into the sport, a culture clash could only come after golfing proficiency. “The first time I went in to play golf with my dad, he was talking English and I was speaking Swedish,” Nordqvist recalls. “We didn’t really get along — and we still don’t. Then, when I went to play by myself, it was completely different. It was everything — with someone else’s language, and their sounds and their sense of humor.”

The difference, according to Nordqvist, was enormous.

“I didn’t like the first time I practiced golf on a course outside of Sweden. The language barrier was the worst thing. Then, when I went to play by myself, it was a culture clash. I enjoyed it when I played golf and it’s allowed me to be open and try other things when I need to, such as in school.”

Nordqvist admits, “I’ve developed in different ways depending on what I’ve been told.” And, while she speaks fluent English, she says she would never try working in an office. Her American father came over to work for the Swedish state for a couple of years, and she thinks he took his language skills and charisma to the office.

“Even in Sweden — where I’ve known everybody for seven years — I can’t say everything in English — but the few times I met people, I’ve been able to say everything I wanted to,” Nordqvist says. “When I’m on a golf course, the media are there to photograph me and they’re pretty polite to me. When I go to work, it’s a completely different scenario.”

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