Twenty years ago the stand-out female athlete for me was Laura Davies, a force on the Golf course and an advocate of women’s sport. Fast forward all those years and I find myself sitting with Laura at the British Masters chatting about Golf, women in sport and the growth of the women’s game.
For me this was the culmination of years of being an advocate of women’s sport, working in the sports world and setting up the magazine - all being
brought back to the beginning and the woman who first stood out for me….Laura Davies. It was a privilege, but Laura Davies CBE also
a sense of a completed chapter being able to chat with her.
The great thing was that Laura not only is still playing at the highest level and as competitively as the next athlete snapping at her heels, but the passion
and vision for women’s sport and Golf in particular hasn’t waned one bit. “I love to play, I have a lot of fun doing it and winning Golf tournaments,”
Laura says, reflecting on where she’s at. Laura’s record of achievements tells of a remarkable career, including: top 10 female golfers of all
time on the money list, in excess of 80 wins, being awarded an MBE (1988) and a CBE (2000) by the Queen; the first non-American to finish at the top
of the money order in the USA, 7 order of merit wins, Solheim cup winner - to name but some of her many achievements. No wonder she has been described
as England’s most accomplished female golfer of modern times.
This is a woman who has pushed and pushed herself throughout her sporting career and is never scared to take a challenge on head first - whether this
is as the first woman to compete in a men’s tournament, or becoming the first man or woman to win 5 Golf tours in one year (USA, Europe, Japan, Asia
and Australia). After all these years the question is why is she still pushing herself? “It’s a very easy equation: I get up each morning to win. Practise
rounds, practice greens, travel around the world. You wouldn’t do it if you didn’t want to win,” Laura says without a second thought.
This is an athlete who is completely focused and full of as much drive as when she won rookie of the year in 1985. But in all of this the nice thing
is that she is relaxed and at ease, with no sense of ‘do you know who I am?’ coming from her. Even when I ask her about the many wins, accolades and
how she feels about that, she first of all discounts seven wins from my figures and gives me reasons why
“It’s a very easy equation: I get up each morning to win...” (there are still wins, but she is trying to down play them) and then explains that
“that stuff is just a bonus to winning.”
Laura is still as clear as ever that the media need to support women’s sport more, whilst acknowledging the huge strides that have been made since
she first started playing. “It is incredible that this year for the first time there were two days of live coverage of the Masters here in England,”
says Laura on the support from Sky TV this year - and how that this is the way forward for television, which in turn brings sponsors, which then benefits
the sport, thus completing the circle.
This is a truly remarkable athlete who likes to win and makes no secret of it - but who is equally relaxed about all the accolades, and down plays not
just her achievements but her contribution to women’s sport around the globe. In time to come more people will realise the contributions Laura Davies
has made and continues to make on tour for women’s sport. She is a shining example of professionalism, longevity and tenacity, mixed with a disarming,
We look forward to Laura entering the World Golf Hall of Fame and for her becoming even more of the icon that already she is.
Photos: Courtesy Ladies European Tour