Good evening to all of you,
First of all, I want to thank you. It is a great honor to be here tonight. I want to tell you that this speech is particularly difficult for me to write. Of course, it will be so much easier to do it in Spanish (my English is a little bit rusty now that I am living in Mexico full time). But here I am. I will try to express my feelings the best I can.
When I learned that I was getting the award I was speechless. I believe that there are only a few people around the world that understand the meaning of this recognition. I mean this in a good way. Everybody knows the U.S. Open or the U.S. Women’s Open, but what is truly important to me is to be remembered for the things I did outside the golf course.
This award tonight is just an example that it doesn’t matter if you win two majors or if you win 14. What matters is how you treat others, how you respect the game, your opponents, the fans, the lovely volunteers, people around you. Golf has given me more than I ever expected, and I can never than enough my family, my friends, my coach, my fellow players, my sponsors, so many people that believed in me since the first day.
I remember when I played in my first U.S. Girls’. I got there and I was so impressed by everything. What the USGA does to tournaments is something that I can talk on and on about, but I think we all know that. But what really struck me since my first experience with the USGA is how they make you feel, is the way they talk to you, the way the give you advice, the way the give themselves to us players, to the organization. They make you feel special even if you don’t play the best golf.
I guess this is my only chance to express my gratitude and it will always be this way. I have great admiration for all of you and it is an honor to consider myself your friend and ambassador of your legacy. Every single women or man were always so nice, so helpful. I am never going to forget when I lost one of my matches. I was only 16 and I was crying by the putting green, then Martha Clark saw me. She came to me and gave me a huge hug like she was my mom. She kept telling me it was going to be all right, and I guess now I can tell that it turned out to be all right. This is just one example of how this organization works. It is made of love, thanks to all of you.
I can tell you tonight that it was not easy for me to retire from competitive golf. But I believe that if you stop playing for the right reasons, it is all about joy. I achieved my dreams inside the golf course. Every experience made me the person I am today. Sometimes it was really hard. Other times it was really easy. Every golfer in the world rides a roller coaster. That is the beauty of the game. It is what we all like. The good moments, the adrenaline, the excitement, the smiles, the joy of lifting a trophy, but also the hard times, the struggle, the tears, the distance between the people we love, living in a suitcase.
I believe that what makes a great person is the way you look at things. And today I can tell you that the process I had to go through to get here tonight has been a blessing from God. I wouldn’t change a thing. God gave me so many blessings in many different ways, and the honor of being here with all of you completes my career.
Being a professional golfer gave me the opportunity and the privilege to create a foundation. Today we have close to 400 kids and my goals is to increase that number even more. What I feel in helping others is hard to describe and put into words. You have my commitment that I will continue with this effort in helping unprivileged kids and making other people aware that there are so many needs around us. Helping others and giving the kids a chance to succeed, to become a better person, to give them values, to prepare them to be ready for the real world and with this, change their lives, is the best thing that a human being can do. These kids are my motivation! Recently we started a partnership with the PGA and my foundation in the States. I’m excited and thank them for their support in growing the game.
Thank you to the Mexican Golf Federation. And before I finish I want to say thank you to the most important person in my life – Andres, my husband. I want to tell you and the world that I have never been this happy in my life. I can’t wait to live next to you and all that surprises that God has to offer us. I promise I will live every day the same way I walk every golf course in my career – full of grace, full of dreams. Thanks for all your support every day. Thanks for your understanding in difficult times. But more important, thanks for your giddiness and light you give every day. I will be by your side for the rest of my life.