Hannah Green dining out on major breakthrough
HANNAH Green gets a reminder of her talents and capabilities on the golf course each time she sits down for dinner at her parents' home in Perth.
The Women's PGA Championship trophy the 23-year-old claimed in June, to become the first Australian to secure a major crown since Karrie Webb in 2006, takes pride of place in the middle of the table.
Jan Stephenson is the nation's only other major winner and her three wins were way back in the early 1980s.
That stat alone provides glaring evidence of the magnitude of the triumph.
"It's pretty cool, although the trophy on the dining table is a lot smaller than the one I lifted," Green said.
"It is very cool to know who has also got that trophy and to have my name among theirs.
"It is a nice reminder of the success I had last year."
Green had never won a LPGA Tour event since turning professional in 2016 until she sunk a nervy putt of just under 2m to conquer the best female golfers in the world at Hazeltine National Golf Club in Chaska, Minnesota.
The victory was impressive, but made even more meritorious by the fact she had to fight the added pressure of hanging on to the lead all four days.
Two months later she was again triumphant, grabbing glory in the Portland Classic in Oregon. It was a significant victory for her career, the moment when she seriously started to believe in herself.
Even her major breakthrough had not had that impact on her. And to cap a stunning year in which her ranking shot from 143 to 22, she was honoured with the Greg Norman Medal as the nation's best golfer, male or female, on the world stage in 2019.
The prized reward on the dining table might be a satisfying reminder for Green, but it also keeps her focused on a goal she says is high on her list of priorities.
"One of my biggest goals is to make sure I stay the same person," she said. "I had success with how I was in 2019 and I want make sure I keep that way.
"Obviously, you can get big headed when you start winning events. I want to make sure I am confident, but not cocky, and that can definitely be hard.
"The expectations and more attention on me, it is hard. You can't always say yes now. Before I didn't have too much to do, but now I have to pick and choose.
"I just have to make sure I stay level headed."
Green is now being recognised in the grocery store, something she describes as strange. For the past few years she reckons she has flown under the radar, so the added attention is "very different".
"I guess I'm putting more pressure on myself to make sure I perform," Green said.
As we chatted, Green was approached by a young girl seeking a signature. The interview paused while she gave the youngster her full attention, no quick glance and scribble on a piece of paper, and constantly smiling in typical Green style.
Then she turns back and says: "I don't think I have changed."
What also hasn't changed is her annual trek to Adelaide early in the new year to work with Glenelg-based Ryan Lumsden, who feeds her 3D biomechanical analysis.
Then it is back to South Australia for the Women's Australian Open at Royal Adelaide from February 13-16. Last year, she finished 10th, having been third in 2018.
"I'm excited to get back to Adelaide for the Open, I've had some good results and been in contention," she said. "
"I never say I have to win two or three times during the year. Now I have done it, I probably should say I can win and have better results.
"Even though I won two tournaments last year, I'm still slowly rising in my career and I want to set reasonable goals.
"I probably won't say I want to win three times, you just never know. Sometimes you can play your best and still lose. I want to make sure I'm happy and stay the same type of person on and off the golf course."