What Do We Know About Laura Davies?
Long Career, Long Drives
English golfer Laura Davies is making the turn into her early fifties these days, but don’t look for some decrepit has-been looking for the nearest senior event. Davies is a three-decade feature of European, and particularly British golf, and is described by some as the most accomplished female golfer from her home country. Considering the list, that’s not an insubstantial statement.
Do we have a picture of Davies’ longer career? That would all depend on how old you are. If you’re a teen or twenty something, and relatively new to watching LPGA or European Women’s golf, your take might be different. She might be that woman who is often in contention, but just doesn’t quite put it over the top most of the time. You might get the idea that despite her big drives, she’s not really a long-term winner.
Those of us who are older know better, but researching Davies’ time spent as a pro, since 1986 surprised me, despite my rapidly advancing years. For example, I had no idea that she was the first non-American to sit atop the LPGA money list, so she must have won something along the way. She received the European Order of Merit seven times from the mid 80s to 2006, and they don’t just hand those out at the pro shop. She’s won twenty times on the LPGA tour alone, and that includes four majors along the way. Her record would appear impressive over here if she never played anywhere else, but she did. The lady from Coventry (I’ve been there, and it’s gorgeous) beat up on the European Women’s Tour for a lot more than twenty wins after conquering all things British as an amateur. All in all, she is the winner of 84 events on the world’s major tours, but we shouldn’t blink, because she’s still playing.
Laura Davies, the first female to win the Phoenix LPGA Invitation four consecutive times, and the first to win on five major tours in one calendar year, appeared as the new big hitter in 1985, at the time a challenger to Joanne Carner. In fact, Davies beat out Carner at the U.S. Women’s Open in 1987, causing the LPGA to amend its constitution and admit her as a lifetime player. She has the most eagles in a tour season, 19 in the year of 2004, probably a direct result of her humongous drives and a propensity for scoring on par 5s. In recent years, we haven’t seen her winning quite as much as she used to, and an inconsistent putter is usually cited as the reason. The drive is still there, and no one on tour would want to arm-wrestle her, although she is said to be quite friendly as a colleague. So, on the days when the putter comes to life to match the prodigious drives, voila, there’s Laura Davies. You may have also seen her in one of her twelve Solheim appearances.
Davies’ retirement plans are unknown, and it may be that she doesn’t have any. Why stop playing the game when you’re still good at it? It sounds as though she does have a life off the course, however, and from what we can tell, she sounds like a lot of fun. She’s a racehorse owner, an avid gambler, has installed a nine-holer in her garden (bearing in mind how important gardens are to the English) and has walked an almost sixty-mile stretch for charity along the Great Wall of China.
As a presence on tour, Davies represents an authentic personal aura that serves as a change of pace from “skinny as a rail,” “twenty something,” “cover girl” golf. She strikes me as a person who would be fun to meet, fun to have a beer with, but not a driving contest. In golf terms, she’s put up Mickey Wright to Annika Sorenstam numbers, and has proven herself a much more important player historically than I had ever thought. I hope she doesn’t quit soon. It’s been fun to have Laura Davies around.