Vive la France! Karine Icher has been having quite an impressive season and the French Solheim Cup player would love nothing more than to cap it off this week with her first major victory on home soil.
“I hope to bring more teenagers and young players to golf because golf in France is small,” Icher said of what it means to have the Evian Championship here. “It's a small country and we don't have a lot of following for it. Hopefully some young teenagers and players are going to come and watch it and maybe want to try golf later.”
Since giving birth to her daughter, Lola, in August 2011, Icher has seen her golf game flourish. She has posted 10 top-10 finishes, 23 top-25 finishes and five top-5 finishes since coming back on Tour in February 2012. Icher also earned a spot on the European Solheim Cup Team this year, marking just her second appearance in the event and her first since 2002. While in her five seasons prior to giving birth to her first child, Icher posted seven top-10 finishes and an equal number of top-25 finishes (22).
So is now a great time for Icher to have this major championship in France?
“I'm playing really well now, so it's perfect timing,” Icher said. “My game is not at the top, I hope, but at a peak. So playing now, it's good timing for me. Once again, the course is very difficult to play and it's hard to do a low score on this golf course and especially with the [wet conditions] this week. So we lose a lot of distance. So it makes it even harder.”
Read her full preview interview here:
KARINE ICHER, Rolex Rankings No. 21 and the top-ranked player from France
THE MODERATOR: Pleasure to welcome Karine Icher at the inaugural Evian Championship. The obvious question, you now have a major in your home country. How does it feel?
KARINE ICHER: It feels really good. I hope to bring more teenagers and young players to golf because golf in France is small. It's a small country and we don't have a lot of following for it. Hopefully some young teenagers and players are going to come and watch it and maybe want to try golf later.
Q. You've had a really good summer leading up to this tournament, successful Solheim Cup, played well at the CN Canadian Open. Tell me about the summer and where it ranks in your career.
KARINE ICHER: For sure Solheim Cup is probably the best memory in my career so far. Winning on the U.S. soil was amazing. Everybody knew it would be very hard, but we did it.
So then I just took the confidence through the Canadian Open and worked pretty well. I hope I'm going to bring it to here in France.
Q. I'll ask you this in English, but it's probably better to answer in French. What would you tell a person who is thinking about coming to the Evian Championship who maybe lives in Evian or very close. Why would you tell them to come out?
KARINE ICHER: Just to come to watch the best players in the world. You can't have better players here. I mean, you have everybody here. It's the if I was major as the Evian Championship and a major in France. It's a huge event. So we are not very lucky to ‑‑ it's not possible to see this kind of player a lot of time for Europe.
In France, maybe people can go to the British and see them, but here it's just amazing to play here on this golf course redesigned because it's in a new golf course now. Just come and watch us to play.
Q. Do you think this new golf course suits your game?
KARINE ICHER: If I play well, yes, it is going to suit my game. I think that is the key. On this golf course you have to play pretty well. Even if you try to read the greens properly and say everything goes to the lake so I'm going to play like this. If you are on the wrong side, you can miss putts and sometimes doing three‑putts.
So I think I know how to do Top‑10 because I've had many times Top‑10s in my career, but I never won. So obviously I'm waiting on winning soon.
Q. Is this your first time in France since the Solheim Cup and do you notice a difference in the amount of attention you are getting?
KARINE ICHER: A little bit, yes. People have watched the Solheim Cup and they know who won and they are pretty proud that Europe won. So a little bit, yes.
Q. Do you think this French major comes at a very good point of your career because now you are stronger, wiser and maybe more, I don't know?
KARINE ICHER: Yeah, I'm playing really well now, so it's perfect timing. My game is not at the top, I hope, but at a peak. So playing now, it's good timing for me.
Once again, the course is very difficult to play and it's hard to do a low score on this golf course and especially with the (inaudible) this week. So we lose a lot of distance. So it makes it even harder.
Q. You have been here many times and you know how it works, no?
KARINE ICHER: I know, but it's a different golf course. So there are some tee shots that remain the same and some things are still the same, but it's amazing to see that in nine months they did that kind of redesign of the course. It's much different than it was before, so it's really a new course.
Q. Once again, you said in the French press that you were a little disappointed by the (inaudible). I just read on the (inaudible) that the amateurs, people like me and the public (inaudible), does it make you happy to play in front of your public once a year?
KARINE ICHER: I'm proud and I want to do my best this week. Now the federation, many interviews help a lot of amateur golf, but doesn't help much golf, professional golf. And to have a sport in a country, to promote the sport in the country, it's not by making any event, it's by making a champion like this. You promote the sport. If we want golf in France growing and to be played by everybody and everything, we need a champion. Woman or man, it doesn't matter. But we need a champion.
I would love to be this person, but I think when we are going to have like an Olympic champion or something like that, we are going to promote golf and many, many people are going to try to play golf. To do that, we need help and especially financially help, but help in general.