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.

Arts and Entertainment
Lou Reed distorted the truth about his upbringing, and since his death in 2013, biographers and memoirists have added to the myths
musicThe truth about Lou Reed's upbringing beyond the biographers' and memoirists' myths
News
people
News
Ed Miliband received a warm welcome in Chester
election 2015
Life and Style
Apple CEO Tim Cook announces the Apple Watch during an Apple special even
fashionIs the Apple Watch for you? Well, it depends if you want it for the fitness tech, or for the style
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Project Implementation Executive

£18000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

Recruitment Genius: Chiropractic Assistant

£16500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Chiropractic Assistant is needed in a ...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Account Executive - Midlands

£18000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

Recruitment Genius: Web Developer

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides coaching ...

Day In a Page

Armenian genocide: To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie

Armenian genocide and the 'good Turks'

To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie
Lou Reed: The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond the biographers' and memoirists' myths

'Lou needed care, but what he got was ECT'

The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond
Migrant boat disaster: This human tragedy has been brewing for four years and EU states can't say they were not warned

This human tragedy has been brewing for years

EU states can't say they were not warned
Women's sportswear: From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help

Women's sportswear

From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help
Hillary Clinton's outfits will be as important as her policies in her presidential bid

Clinton's clothes

Like it or not, her outfits will be as important as her policies
NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace