Laura Davies passes test of time at Women's British Open

LYTHAM ST ANNES, ENGLAND - AUGUST 01: Laura Davies of England speaks to the media during a press conference ahead of the Ricoh Women's British Open at Royal Lytham & St. Annes on August 1, 2018 in Lytham St Annes, England. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images) Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images

Laura Davies passes test of time at Women's British Open

Women's British Open

Laura Davies passes test of time at Women's British Open

LYTHAM ST. ANNES, England ­– Laura Davies is making her 38th consecutive appearance in the Ricoh Women’s British Open this week. Only five other players in the field of 144 have even celebrated that many birthdays.

Every year in the press center there’s a print-out available for media that details her British Open record. (It’s the only player bio available for the championship.) Davies, a winner in 1986, began her run at the British as a 16-year-old amateur in 1980 at Wentworth. She has competed at Royal Lytham & St. Annes four times, recording a pair of top-20 finishes at the venue where Bobby Jones (1926), Gary Player (1974), Seve Ballesteros (1979, 1988) and Ernie Els (2012) have hoisted the Claret Jug.

At 54, Davies comes into the LPGA’s fourth major fresh off a victory at the inaugural U.S. Senior Women’s Open, where she put together a dominating performance at celebrated Chicago Golf Club.

The putter “went out the window” at last week’s Scottish Open, where Davies missed the cut, but she’s loving the greens this week.

“Greens are the best links I’ve ever putted on,” said Davies. “I don’t know how they’ve got them so unblemished.”

At last week’s Senior British Open, held over the Old Course at St. Andrews, Tom Watson delighted golf fans by shooting his age, 4-under 68, in the second round. It came on the heels of 79-year-old JoAnne Carner doing the same in Round 1 of the U.S. Senior Women’s Open. Both feats created tremendous buzz for the over-50 set.

Such ageless wonders beg the question – Will the R&A follow in the USGA’s footsteps and create a Women’s Senior British Open? Davies, of course, would relish the opportunity.

“I think the USGA has set the target now,” said Davies, “so other people will want the senior women players, because I think everyone enjoyed that tournament, and the galleries were good. So they obviously voted with their feet…. There’s a real future for it.”

Of course, as Davies noted, it would take America’s finest seniors coming over to make it a real success.

Scotland’s Catriona Matthew, 48, watched the coverage at Chicago Golf Club and can’t to play. (Participants must be 50.) She’d like a shot at a senior major title on this side of the pond, too.

“I think obviously (the R&A) saw from the success in the U. S. that there’s no reason why it can’t be a success over here,” Matthew said.

While there’s no end in sight to Davies’ competitive career – she took a share of second at the Bank of Hope Founders Cup on the LPGA in Phoenix last spring – don’t look for her to captain a Solheim Cup anytime soon. The Englishwoman may have been the backbone of Team Europe for decades, but her opinion on actually leading the troops hasn’t changed much over the years.

“Solheim Cup players lose the ability to function for one week every two years,” said Davies, “and it would drive me insane to be asked to go and get bananas on the third green. I couldn’t handle it. I’m not interested.”

She’d, of course, love to make the team for a 13th time, but is otherwise quite happy being a part of the Solheim television commentary, calling it the greatest event in women’s golf.

Not even hosting the Solheim Cup on English soil (which amazingly has never been done) could convince her to take on the captaincy.

Fans can get their fill of Dame Laura this week both inside the ropes and in the booth as she’ll be commentating all four rounds for Sky Sports after signing her scorecard. Davies tees off at 12:49 p.m. (7:49 a.m. Eastern) local time alongside two-time major champion Sung Hyun Park and Carlota Ciganda. She made the cut last year at Kingsbarns and tied for ninth four years ago at Royal Birkdale.

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