During the L.P.G.A. tour’s five-month shutdown, Salas grappled with these existential questions: If she is not a professional golfer, what is she? What is her worth if she is not a Latina of influence on the sporting stage?
“I really didn’t like myself in 2020,” said Salas, who added, “It was the accumulation of a lot of other things.”
With Los Angeles-area golf courses closed because of coronavirus protocols, Salas settled in with her family. She spent two months home-schooling her nephew, who was in the second grade, and said nothing to her loved ones about her growing anxiety.
Her silence, she said, was based on her belief that she had no reason to feel sorry for herself, not when she was surrounded by people who loved her and was succeeding in the career that she had set her sights on in high school.
When the L.P.G.A. season resumed last July, Salas dismissed her heightened anxiety as nerves. But as the weeks wore on, she said, “It was so bad that the golf couldn’t help.”
Salas made 10 of 12 cuts after the 2020 restart but never finished higher than a tie for 10th at the Women’s Australian Open that February, her lone prepandemic start of the season.
“When I saw that I wasn’t getting the results I wanted, it ate me up,” Salas said.
She added: “Instead of asking for help, I pretty much shut people out. That was not the right way to do it, and I acknowledge that.”