Davies Nearly Tracks Down Inbee Park
She loves cooking and fast cars. She’s big on tv sports, and a rabid fan of football (no, not that kind ). She’s a long hitter on the LPGA tour, and is likely to contend on any given week. No, she’s not some jet-setter kid setting the tour on fire fresh out of Q school. In fact, as new touring pros discover, it’s been on fire for a long time, and Laura Davies is one of the stars who set it. Now, at 54 years of age, she remains a living warning to teens and twenty-somethings that although the knees may ache from time to time, the flame still burns bright and the swing still works.
Laura Davies played the Founders Cup in Phoenix last week, and like every other tournament, showed up because she thought she could stil be a contender. This time, she very nearly won it. This was no off-beat tournament for retirees, no photo-op for legends of the game. This was a tournament where one will likely see Lydia Ko, Brooke Henderson, and yes, the indestructible Inbee Park. As Davies knows, if you want to win on today’s tour, these and others are the players you must overcome to do it – she understands. The record for winning on tour at the most advanced age was taken by Beth Daniel, who won at forty-six and change. Davies almost took the title at eight years longer, and she stayed with Inbee Park in the process. Park has for years been a wrecking ball to the hopes of other aspiring greats, and the only thing that saved her at the Founders Cup was a late birdie binge that we have come to expect from her. Up to the turn onto the back nine of Sunday, it looked like Laura Davies’ trophy, just as much as anyone else’s.
The number associated with any age is entirely relative, and up to the perception of the listener.Â As in other physical professions, some are finished at thirty, while others never seem to run out of gas. Ironically, it was Inbee Park who had recently considered retirement after minor injuries hampered her over the past year or two. Davies, on the other hand, made the off-hand observation that she could still hit the ball “as well as most of the really good players.” Many minds would rush to judgment with accusations of self-delusion – “Oh, sure she can…right.” As it turns out, Davies is right, and is in fact still one of the long ball hitters on tour. People ask her all the time when she will retire. It seems a stupid question for one sho keeps pace with Inbee Park, and may have pulled it off if not for a bogeyish beginning. If she’s doing this kind of thing twenty years from now, retirement will still be a stupid question. One should retire only if they want to and can’t do it anymore.
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The golf bug bit Laura Davies when she was a kid of nine. We hear stories of film directors who went to the all-day movies, to be picked up at sunset. This was Davies’ case on the golf course. Her family relocated to Marietta, Georgia in 1968. How is that for culture shock? They moved back to Britain in 1971, and she still lives in Surrey. If most touring players want to know about the 60s and 70s, they have to go online. Since those days, Davies has won 20 times on the LPGA, including a handful of majors, 45 times on the Ladies European Tour, 7 times on the Japanese LPGA, 8 times on the Australian tour, twice on the Asian Tour, 5 other wins on alternate tours, and once in the Legends.
Retire, my foot.