Having come to terms with the pain and frustration of missing out on her dream Solheim Cup appearance, Virginie Lagoutte-Clement her set her sights on conquering Europe in 2012.
How do you assess your 2011 season?
Quite disappointing: I really missed a few chances to win. I made a lot of cuts but finished not so well. I missed The Solheim cup selection, I had a stupid small car accident that forced me to retire from the Lacoste Ladies Open de France when I was lying in third place in my own country, but I am still in the top 20 on the 2011 Henderson Money List, even if my goal was to do better!
Is there anything you have learned or would have done differently if you could go back in time?
If I could go back in time, for sure I would go back after my second round in Germany, where I was 15 under after two rounds with a five shot lead. I didn’t really imagine that I would finish outside the top three places. I just stopped playing golf and was looking around me at the other players for the two last rounds. Germany was one of my best tournaments but also one of my worst moments!
You have come close to victory on several occasions with three top-4 finishes... how frustrating has it been?
Yes, I was fourth three weeks in a row. The first time in Portugal was okay because it was a windy last day and I started pretty badly, but I fought hard to come back. Germany and Slovakia were hard to take.
Has it made you more determined and do you feel there is still time to do something special this year?
To be honest, after The Solheim Cup selection in September, I didn’t t really go to the training ground and it showed on the results, as I was feeling bad. So after some weeks off, I will probably need to come back for India and Dubai, the last two tournaments. I am now just looking for a victory.
What is your focus towards the end of this season and how do you plan to achieve it?
I will drop the clubs for few weeks as I cannot see them right now (they are in the garage) but I will start training few weeks before India to be ready.
What are your plans over the winter and will you be working on your game or taking time out after Dubai?
It depends on the tournaments scheduled in Australia, as a few months ago, I didn’t plan to go there, but I want play these tournaments now so I will wait for the schedule.
Describe a typical day at home in Golf La Valdaine.
There is no typical day: it bores me. As I live on the golf course, I can manage my training as I wish, but you have so many things to do when you come back home after several weeks off, that it all depends on the weather, on what happens in town, what our friends want to do in your home, the paper work. It depends on my state of mind.
What are your plans for 2012?
Right now, it is to start a new season. I can’t wait to start 2012 as so far for me, 2011 has not had good memories.
How difficult is it juggling your career and family?
It is not so hard, you just have to be organised. What is just boring is that people bring you more problems, because they are quite closed minded and don t know how we work with Victoria. As per usual, a child stays home watching cartoons.
Is there any advice you would give to future mums on tour?
Send to hell, people who tell you what to do, because it is just amazing to be able to travel with your child all the year, instead of leaving them at home. It you want to keep playing, you have to bring them, or have a helpful grandpa and grandma!
What are your plans with schooling Victoria?
We managed her first two years in school when we were at home, and she came with us when we had some tournaments. We will have the choice to be stable at school or to give lessons ourselves.
How has family life changed you?
It is strange because it changed me in different ways. I am now more open minded and not attracted only to material things, but it has given me more ambition to give Victoria what she needs to start a good life. I am also more organised and hate when something goes wrong by another, especially when is due or for Victoria.
How important is your caddie/husband Seb and what is his role?
I just cannot work with somebody else because we are organised for working with Victoria and Seb couldn’t do the things that he does if working with another player. Another caddie couldn’t do things that Seb does with Victoria to allow me time to work. He has worked for me for six years, so he can read my game and prevent any bad shots I might make. So for example, when somebody tells you that you will make a flyer, or pull it or have more spin or whatever before you make the shot and that it is confirmed 95 per cent of the time, you trust him and that improves your game.
What has been your highlight of 2011 so far?
The first round in Evian, where I was three over after four in the rain, and finally shot three under to be in the top ten.