Laura Davies Misses Hall of Fame Induction
Apparently, the World Golf Hall of Fame was becoming a little America-centric by holding its annual inductions in St. Augustine, Florida. When golfers and others from around the world reminded them that the word “world” was an important part of the institution, they responded by scheduling inductions every other year in differing locales – one point for them. I don’t know the inner workings of this organization, and so don’t know if they are biased toward American golfers, but that kind of thing has happened before. This year, despite the relocation of the celebration to St. Andrews in Scotland, Laura Davies got the short end of the club.
Laura Davies is the symbol of modern women’s golf to the island that created the modern game. She’s still got game after decades on the tours, and is still a seemingly ever-present contender from week to week. She’s won an ungodly number of tournaments, in the mid-80s, along with four majors, and twenty victories on the LPGA tour. Her success and value cannot be underestimated. If you’re going to honor Laura Davies, do it up right. Individuals like her don’t come along every day.
All right, so Davies made the cut at the Open, and that shortened the window to fly to St. Andrews. In the process, a flight from the states was cancelled, and there was no way for her to attend her own induction. Alternatives were tried, including an attempt by Arnold Palmer to get her over the pond on his plane. That, unfortunately, fell through, although I’m not sure why.
Pictures have been painted of the Hall of Fame’s insensitivity and apathy toward Davies. Some have claimed that it stems from an American bias, although I can’t imagine any of the American female players I’ve met feeling that way. They’re competitive, but Laura Davies is as esteemed here as she is anywhere else, with the possible exclusion of her native country.
So, was a group of guys sitting around in St. Augustine or Scotland with pencils and schedules, waving off any possible problem by assuming that Davies would miss the cut in that week’s tournament? I can’t answer that, but the heart doesn’t go with the idea that it was just all too bad, and couldn’t be helped, and well…better luck next year.
Davies has forged a career that deserves a special welcome into golf’s legacy. For her, the officials and the troops of bagpipers should, at least in the imagination, stand there until the legend can find her way to the hallowed halls, no matter how long it takes. And, if she can’t get there, it should be moved to another day when she can be present. It’s deflating and far too much of an understatement to run a taped acceptance speech. Would the U.S. have done that with Mickey Wright? I doubt it.
If you want straight talk on the subject, whether it’s perfectly accurate or not, consult an Australian like Karrie Webb. She declared that “They don’t even care if she can make it,” and claimed to be “deeply embarrassed” over the situation. Not knowing the inner details of the problem, I can’t swear that that is true. Nevertheless, I’m embarrassed by the snafu as well, and wonder if perhaps they shouldn’t take another try at honoring the most iconic British female golfer of the modern age, one who has received the Order of Merit seven times.
As for Davies herself, she’s too modest to make much of a fuss over it, but Webb is probably right in saying that being inducted meant a lot to her. It’s a worth an investigation, and an auspicious public correction with flags flying, cheering and, oh yes, lots of pipers.