INTERVIEW. In 2022, the 29-year-old Frenchwoman installed on the American Circuit has approached the heights. 2023 could be his year.
After her very rich and fruitful 2022 season, this hard worker put her clubs down for long weeks during the off-season: “ I really haven’t done anything for a month, she confided to Figaro the day before Christmas Eve.I hit a few balls for two operations with my sponsors but I haven’t played an 18-hole since mid-November…After finishing 10th in the American Circuit final, the Frenchwoman based in Dallas (Texas) took a few days off in the United States, then crossed the Atlantic to enjoy her family from December 16 to 26. . “It feels good to hear French spoken and to practice it a bit.»
The one who told us before the last Evian Championship that she didn’t mind spending hours on a course, even when she wasn’t competing, confesses with a smile: “It’s really the first time that I’ve taken such a long break without feeling too guilty. Usually, I need to play to reassure myself, and after a week without a club, I always had the anxiety of losing my feelings.»
I was solid from tee to green. The putting, more regular than in the past, has decreased a lot.
If victory fled her in 2022, she signed 13 top 10s, including 2 in Majors (4th in the Chevron Championship and 7th in the British Open) and 6 top 5s, for only 3 cups scored in 25 events. “I obviously get a lot of satisfaction out of it. The only downside is that I did not manage to win the LPGA Tour (American Circuit, editor’s note). But I found myself in a position to win in the later games almost every week. I managed to achieve this consistency because my level of play was good. I was solid from tee to green. The putting, more regular than in the past, has decreased a lot.His consistency in excellence was rewarded with a 12th place in the world. A ranking never reached by a tricolor player (Victor Dubuisson, had been 15th in the world on February 1, 2015). “It’s quite gratifying to say that we are a bit part of the history of French golf, but, in general, I don’t pay too much attention to the rankings.»
I tend to belittle myself. Seeing things that are wrong is quite natural for me.
The French number 1, who will celebrate his 30th birthday next November, has changed dimensions for his fifth season on the powerful LPGA Tour. Trained at the Paris Country Club, then at Texas University, the former amateur world number 1 (2014) no longer has any complexes. “I tend to belittle myself. Seeing things that are wrong is quite natural for me. I worked on it, and I feel much more comfortable. It plays into my performance, knowing that I’m in my place in the top 15. It’s something I continue to work on, because the little complex sometimes remains when I play to win with the best in the biggest tournaments.Returning to her stronghold of Dallas at the end of December to prepare for the Hilton Grand Vacations Tournament of Champions (January 19-22), which opens the 2023 season, the native of Montrouge has warmed up new clubs, without revolutionizing her game. “I will not modify the gesture of my swing to gain 10 meters. It wouldn’t make sense. I will never be a great hitter. But my current length allows me to perform and win. I will continue to build on my strengths.»
Even if I’m world No. 1 and win five Majors, I feel like I could still walk down the street.
With more than 1.1 million euros in tournament earnings this season (3.5 million in career), Céline Boutier has taken care of her bank account. However, in France, where golf is still too confidential, the discreet Céline does not overflow with media solicitations. “When I walk in the streets of Paris, they leave me alone, she laughs. I really don’t feel like someone special. Afterwards, it is sure that a victory in a Major for a Frenchwoman allows us to talk a little more about women’s golf at home. But, even if I’m world No. 1 and win five Majors, I feel like I could still walk down the street.»
Read alsoCéline Boutier: “Winning at Evian would be the ultimate dream”
If she keeps the Paris 2024 Olympics”in a corner of (his) head“, the patron saint of French golf is aiming for a first Grand Slam title in 2023 and a third participation in the Solheim Cup (September 22-24, the equivalent of the Ryder Cup for women) after her two victorious participations (2019 and 2021 ). “I made two top 10s in the Majors, but I was never in a position to win, despite a good level of play. I started well at the Chevron Championship (4th) and finished well at the British (7th). I still need to gain consistency over four laps…The Frenchwoman of Thai origin, who is not looking for light, could however find it very soon.