Talent that is hard to miss

Laura Davies, Britain's foremost female golfer, talks to Richard Edmondson about why she considers herself blessed

It might be safe to assume that Britain's best male golfer and his female counterpart have little in common. Laura Davies likes a gamble and a drink, she refuses to practice after a round or take advice from a coach, and relaxes by playing car-park football with the caddies on the tour.

When Davies tees off today in the first round of the Ford Golf Classic at Chart Hills in Kent, Nick Faldo's first design venture in Europe, she will parade that most uncommon quality in a sports player: someone who is both talented and humble.

The 31-year-old's competitive skills are unquestioned. The leading money- winner on the LPGA circuit last year, she has again been burning up the American and Japanese tours this season, recording seven top-six finishes - including two victories - from nine tournaments.

In any other sporting realm this would guarantee celebrity, but when the BBC run their review in December, Davies will probably be in Row H, next to the bloke who has left a kayak on his roof-rack.

Davies' problem is twofold. She is in a sport where the financial and attention battle of the sexes is nowhere near as close as it is in tennis, and to borrow a figure from the other game, she does not possess the Gabriela Sabatini advertising package. If you see Davies, you notice the frame that launches the ball huge distances, the shoes like herring boxes; if you listen to her, you recognise a rare humour and sincerity.

For the Coventry-born Davies, who now lives in some splendour in West Byfleet, it was not always like this. In the early days, the driver used to go as far as the drives, and the thrower would forever curse her ill- fortune.

Much of Davies' current success can be traced back to an aeroplane journey from Japan two years ago, when, as the duty frees were wheeled past, the golfer decided she had a duty to herself. To stop moaning. This mental volte-face is such that not only does Davies no longer believe she is wickedly unlucky on the golf course, she now thinks of herself as blessed.

"I've had a lot of luck this year," she said. "I've had a lot of balls going out of bounds hit trees and come back, and putts that normally lip out diving in. Things are going my way and it's great. I don't know what it is." It is actually called positive thinking.

Davies has much time to think and sleep on planes (she will travel across the Atlantic at least 10 times this year), and she does so outside the luxury of first class.

"It seems such a waste to spend six hours and $5,000 on a plane," she said. "I'd rather spend it at the other end. When I get on board, the usual game is to hunt around for three or four seats to lie across."

When she wakes up, Davies likes to spend, and her appearance yesterday morning suggested she would give Tutankhamun a good run for his money in terms of gold. At home, her collector's instinct extends to televisions (she has 18) and teddy bears, over 100 of which are reported to stalk the place.

Rather less soft and cuddly was the television commentator in the United States, whose recent remarks allegedly questioned the sexuality of the Tour as a whole and Davies' size in particular. He called her a tank.

Davies has been through this tiresome territory before, and like other well-built people before her, she chooses to get the self-deprecatory material in first. "Apparently he was looking for me, but I never saw him," she said. "I'm so small he wouldn't have seen me anyway, blending into one of the flagsticks."

However, at Biddenden in Kent this week, Britain's best-ever female golfer will not be easy to miss. Laura Jane Davies, who has kept company with Fred Couples and Ray Floyd off the back tees, will be the one booming out 300-yard drives, occasionally removing both feet off the ground as the torque reaches her legs.

She has already completed one half of her season's ambition of winning on both sides of the Atlantic but, most of all, she would like to help her European team-mates regain the Solheim Cup from the United States at St Pierre in September.

Before then, she will impress many with her abilities and good grace, starting with those who watch her negotiate the oak-strewn Chart Hills today. The recently completed course has 138 sand traps, including the 200-yard long Anaconda Bunker, which threatens all the way up the fifth. On current form, Davies is unlikely to be sliding into that hazard. She is too busy climbing ladders.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
video
Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Southern charm: Nicolas Cage and Tye Sheridan in ‘Joe’
filmReview: Actor delivers astonishing performance in low budget drama
Arts and Entertainment
While many films were released, few managed to match the success of James Bond blockbuster 'Skyfall'
film
Arts and Entertainment
Up my street: The residents of the elegant Moray Place in Edinburgh's Georgian New Town
tvBBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past
Extras
indybest
News
Albus Dumbledore, the headmaster of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry has been the teaching profession's favourite teacher
education
Sport
Luis Suarez looks towards the crowd during the 2-1 victory over England
sport
Life and Style
Cheesecake frozen yoghurt by Constance and Mathilde Lorenzi
food + drinkThink outside the cool box for this summer’s frozen treats
News
John Barrowman kisses his male “bride” at a mock Gretna Green during the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony
peopleBarrowman's opening ceremony message to Commonwealth countries where he would be sent to prison for being gay
Sport
Sir Bradley Wiggins removes his silver medal after the podium ceremony for the men’s 4,000m team pursuit in Glasgow yesterday
Commonwealth games Disappointment for Sir Bradley in team pursuit final as England are forced to settle for silver
Sport
Alistair Brownlee (right) celebrates with his gold medal after winning the men’s triathlon alongside brother Jonny (left), who got silver
England's Jodie Stimpson won the women’s triathlon in the morning
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SQL Report Analyst (SSRS, CA, SQL 2012)

£30000 - £38500 Per Annum + 25 days holiday, pension, subsidised restaurant: C...

Application Support Analyst (SQL, Incident Management, SLAs)

£34000 - £37000 Per Annum + excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Lt...

Embedded Software / Firmware Engineer

£40000 - £45000 per annum + Pension, Holiday, Flexi-time: Progressive Recruitm...

Developer - WinForms, C#

£280 - £320 per day: Progressive Recruitment: C#, WinForms, Desktop Developmen...

Day In a Page

Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little
Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform