Her storybook nearly closed before it began.
Before Beatriz Recari became one of the top golfers in the world, she bore down on what she called a “miserable ending.”
It was 2007, and Recari was slowly breaking down, her struggle with anorexia deepening by the day. She weighed barely 100 pounds and sometimes went to bed so hungry that she could not sleep. Her hair began to fall out.
Even as family advised her to seek help, Recari insisted she was fine — until one day in August when she no longer had a choice. At the Finnair Masters on the Ladies European Tour, her body simply gave out.
“The low point was when I couldn't finish 18 holes,” Recari said. “Then I realized, OK, this is serious. I can't fool myself anymore, and I need to do something about it.”
Today Recari, 27, has not only found a healthy balance but is using her success on the LPGA Tour as a platform to help others achieve the same.
CHAMPION FILE: Beatriz Recari from B to Z
Since returning to her native Spain for several months to seek help, Recari has raked in more than $2 million in winnings and returns to the Marathon Classic as the tournament’s defending champion.
Recari was also recently named the official ambassador for the Alliance for Eating Disorders Awareness.
While Recari believes golf helped save her — “I really want to be successful, and that was my motivation to get healthier quicker,” she said — she believes her story is universal. She wants the next generation of young girls facing the same struggles to know there is help and they are hardly alone.
According to the Alliance, 25 million Americans suffer from anorexia, bulimia, and binge eating disorders, with females accounting for 75 percent of the afflicted. The organization’s Web site states that “more than half the females between the ages of 18 to 25 would prefer to be run over by a truck then be fat, and two-third surveyed would rather be mean or stupid.”
Most important, Recari seeks to promote a healthy lifestyle — “Now I look at what my body needs as opposed to numbers,” she said — and a positive body image. Last winter, she hosted the first Beatriz Recari and Friends Alliance Golf Classic fundraiser in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.
“I wanted to take an experience that I had in my life and I wanted to turn it into something positive and do something about it,” Recari said. “[Eating disorders] happen way more than you hear about. Unfortunately, you hear about it when it's too late. People, it's something that you're very embarrassed about. It's almost not respected. If other people went and said I have this problem, this [medical] issue, then they take it seriously. But this is like, ‘Oh, you're such a stupid girl.’ It's very negative response. People are ashamed to say I think I'm struggling with this.
“I just wanted to be there to say ... that there is help out there, and I was able to recover and actually do it all the way to the point where I'm performing at the highest level in a sport, which obviously you need to be healthy to do.”
In a statement, Alliance CEO Johanna Kandel called it ”an honor for our organization to have a world-class athlete supporting our cause.”
“Beatriz’s experience in overcoming this illness and her willingness to share her story with others is an inspiration to thousands of individuals suffering around the world,” she said.
Contact David Briggs at: firstname.lastname@example.org, 419-724-6084 or on Twitter @DBriggsBlade.
Beatriz Recari: From B to Z
■ What is your favorite LPGA Tour stop? Toledo.
■ If you could win any tournament? Evian Championship in France.
■ Who would be the other three members (living or dead) of your dream foursome? Seve Ballesteros, Jose Maria Olazabal and Sergio Garcia.
■ And where would you like that round of golf to be played? Valderrama (in southern Spain, site of the 1997 Ryder Cup matches).
■ What are the things you miss most when not in Spain? My family and friends and, of course, the best food in the world.
■ What’s your favorite Spanish food? That is too hard of a question; everything is so good.
■ What about the things you like most about being in the U.S.? I like that people are very friendly and everything is so easy here. Plus, I love the passion for sports of any kind.
■ What are your favorite ways to spend time away from the golf course? Reading, listening to music, and going to the beach.
■ What are your favorite sports to follow besides golf? Soccer, hockey, tennis, and skiing.
■ What are three things always found in your refrigerator? Almond milk, fruit, and Spanish ham.
■ If you weren’t a golfer, what would you be doing? Running my own business.
■ Favorite vacation spot? A lost place with a nice beach.
■ What’s your favorite street name in Sylvania, Ohio? Beatriz Recari Drive, of course.
■ What is something about you that fans might be surprised to know? That I speak multiple languages — Spanish, English, Norwegian, Italian, and I’m learning Japanese.
■ Age: 27
■ Hometown: Pamplona, Spain
■ Career LPGA earnings: $2.03 million (through June 29)
■ Career LPGA wins: 3 — 2010 CVS/pharmacy LPGA Challenge; 2013 Kia Classic; 2013 Marathon Classic
■ Rookie year: 2010
■ Started playing golf at the age of 11
■ Credits her father, Jose Luis, as the biggest influence on her career
■ Qualified for LPGA Tour on her second attempt
■ Hobbies include listening to music, reading, playing tennis, and cross-country skiing
Beatriz Recari poses with the trophy after winning the 2013 Marathon Classic at Highland Meadows Golf Club in Sylvania. BLADE
Beatriz Recari lines up a putt in last year’s Marathon Classic at Highland Meadows. She won by one stroke. THE BLADE/ANDY MORRISON