Out of bounds: Arozamena’s murder brings golf into perspective
Tributes flood in for 22-year-old Spanish amateur found dead on course in Iowa
Celia Barquin Arozamena pictured after her victory in the European Ladies’ Amateur Championship. Photograph: EPA/EGA
Unfortunately, we will never know what impact Celia Barquin Arozamena would have made on the professional tour. What honours she would have lifted, or if Majors or the Solheim Cup were part of her destiny. We’ll never know. Sadly.
The response to her death from those who knew her on the amateur and collegiate circuit, though, provides an insight into how the young Spaniard touched so many in a life so cruelly cut short.
Barquin, just 22-years-old, was the current European Amateur champion, ranked 44th in the world and completing her engineering degree at Iowa State University where she was named Female Athlete of the Year for her performances through 2018.
“Celia had an infectious smile, a bubbly personality and anyone fortunate enough to know her was blessed. Our Cyclone family mourns the tragic loss of Celia, a spectacular student-athlete and ISU ambassador,” commented ISU Athletics Director Jamie Pollard in struggling to comprehend her murder, on a golf course, as she played a round alone.
Sergio Garcia too.
“Heartbroken over what happened to #CeliaBarquinArozamena I had the pleasure of meeting her and I know she was a special person. Sending my thoughts and prayers to her family and loved ones in this difficult time,” wrote Garcia on his social media platforms.
Olivia Mehaffey, Ireland’s highest ranked player in the amateur world rankings, tweeted: “Heartbreaking news. There is so much evil in this world. Thoughts and prayers to her family at this time.”
And Leona Maguire, for so long the world amateur number one and now cutting her teeth as a professional, tweeted: “Thinking of and praying for Celia’s family at this time. Such heartbreaking news, she will be greatly missed. Really puts things into perspective.”
Perspective is, indeed, something which Barquin’s murder should bring to the wider golf scene. Her death this week coincided with the PGA Tour’s revelation that, from next year, the winner of the FedEx Cup will scoop $15 million (currently $10m) and that the bonus pool will balloon to $60 million (currently $25m). Such sums are, for sure, obscene in any context.
Next week the cash cow that is the Ryder Cup - its resources fueling the PGA European Tour, as the event gets bigger and crazier with each biennial staging - takes place in Paris, where surely the European players will honour Barquin.
As Tommy Fleetwood, a player who has managed to keep his feet firmly on the ground while rising through the ranks, observed: “I’ve always grown up thinking a golf course is the safest place you can be. Where is safe these days?”