08 Sep 2019

Rafa Cabrera Bello: Baby Alva beats any prize in golf

The feeling of winning tournaments is one of the best there is but the love of a father towards his child is the most special thing in the world. 

I’m lucky enough to have achieved some great things in my golfing career so far but none of them even comes close to what happened on August 8 at precisely 7.35pm. 

My wife, Sofia, gave birth to a beautiful baby girl, Alva Margareta Cabrera Lundstedt, and our lives changed forever. 

It feels amazing to be a father. It has truly been the best experience of my life – nothing really compares to it. Even though I love golf very much, the love of a father to his child is way, way beyond anything else. I think it’s life’s most special miracle.

There is a story behind Alva’s name. Sofia and I wanted a Scandinavian name (since Sofia is from Sweden) that was pronounced and read the same way in Spanish. It sounds as if it would be pretty difficult to find a name, but if you research a bit there are actually many names that suit. Alva was the one that we both liked the most. 

At the time of writing this column, she’s still only two and a half weeks old so I will find out in the coming weeks and months how Alva’s arrival will affect things on the golf course. I’m sure it will be tougher to leave her to go practice, but on the other hand it will give a new purpose to my goals and I’m sure that it’ll bring the best out of me in the future.

With the conclusion of the FedExCup, I’m looking forward to the business end of the season on the European Tour starting with the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth. It’s one of the biggest and most eagerly anticipated events on the Race to Dubai schedule and I enjoyed my best result there last season when I finished eighth, so I’m raring to go. 

I had some good weeks in Europe prior to taking a break when Alva was almost with us and followed a tied third place finish at the BMW International Open in Germany with a tied fourth at the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open and a tied ninth at the Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open, an event I won back in 2017. 

The events in Ireland and Scotland were both on links courses and I love playing links golf. I enjoy the challenge of playing a course that feels completely different every day and sometimes playing against the elements too! Aside from that I felt my game was very solid and it was nice to be contending again several weeks in a row. 

While I was making my return to action at the BMW Championship on the PGA Tour my compatriot and fellow countryman Adri Arnaus was again proving why he’s one of the most exciting young prospects in the game right now by finishing in second place at the D+D Real Czech Masters – his third runner up of an excellent rookie season. 

Outside of his golfing ability, Adri is a very nice guy and will be a great player in the future. He is a hard-working, humble and talented player and I think those are great values for golf. On top of that he hits it a mile so he’s definitely tailor-made for the modern game. You can clearly see him gaining confidence and feeling more and more comfortable with every event that he plays and I’m sure it won’t be long before he wins on tour.

The big topic on the European Tour are the recent changes announced by our CEO, Keith Pelley, aimed at eradicating slow play. As a general rule, I’m always in favour of all measures that help speed up play. I prefer individual sanctions rather than group ones, but I understand why sometimes it can’t be done that way. I also think that in Europe they are doing a better job trying to speed up play and that it’s a difficult matter to address and make it fair and right for everyone. Also, I want to use this opportunity to remind everyone that we play longer courses, with thicker rough, faster and more undulated greens, and that it is virtually impossible to play faster rounds than many years ago. Having said that, I absolutely agree that we still need to play faster but I don’t think we will ever play at the pace golf used to be played at.

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