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Anyone noticed? Laura's won again

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Iain Carter | 11:36 UK time, Monday, 15 November 2010

The sporting awards season is fast approaching and European golf is entitled to expect plenty of recognition for what has been an extraordinary year of success.

However, there are some achievements that are in danger of being ignored - certainly if the Sunday Times Sportswoman of the Year nominees are anything to go by.

The six finalists were published on page 14 of the paper's sports section on 14 November and I'm sure heptathlete Jessica Ennis, gymnast Beth Tweddle, cyclist Emma Pooley, swimmer Fran Halsall, rugby union's Maggie Alphonsi and skeleton Olympic gold medallist Amy Williams are all well worth their place on the short-list.

But no room for Laura Davies?

Turn over the page and there was the same paper detailing yet another victory for Davies - this one in the Indian Open. It was her fifth win of the year, the 80th of her professional career and put the 47-year-old into second place on the Ladies European Tour's 2010 money list.

These are stellar achievements and they are going largely unrecognised. Women's golf doesn't command the column inches it once did and, hands up it's a fair cop, this blog has been as guilty as any in this regard.

The LET and LPGA find themselves at the low end of the media cycle and have been eclipsed by a constant supply of compelling story lines from the men's game.

Davies has fallen victim to this fallow period for the lack of publicity she has received but that should not detract from the wins she has claimed this year in New Zealand, Germany, Austria, Spain and now India.

It is a shame these successes have not been recognised by the Sunday Times adjudicators but the greater pity is the way that golf has ignored the sustained excellence of Davies's career.

The fact that she has yet to be inducted by the game's Hall of Fame is nothing short of scandalous. Apparently, she needs two more LPGA wins or a major title to add to the four she has already won to be eligible for admission.

How can anyone argue that Davies has not done enough already? She remains the most recognisable female golfer in the United Kingdom and just three years short of senior status she continues to rack up the wins with her no-nonsense approach to the game.

These are precisely the sort of credentials a Hall of Fame should recognise in their Florida headquarters.

As for the men's game, it will be fascinating to see how the likes of Graeme McDowell, Lee Westwood and the European Ryder Cup team fare when the seasonal gongs are handed out.

McDowell beat the golfing world on one of its most iconic stages when he did what no other European has done for 40 years in winning the US Open at Pebble Beach. He did it with Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Ernie Els all challenging.

He also did it in the middle of football's World Cup and on the eve of Wimbledon, which meant his victory was somewhat overshadowed at the time. Good job he secured the Ryder Cup for Europe three months later, not that any kind of validation should have been needed.

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From my somewhat biased stand point, I cannot think of any UK sports star who can claim to have achieved such glory against the very best in the world in 2010. If Andy Murray won a major in tennis, he would be a shoo-in for every award going. The man they call 'GMac' did the golfing equivalent.

McDowell was coached by Pete Cowen, who has also overseen Lee Westwood's elevation to the top of the rankings and Louis Oosthuizen's stunning victory at the Open Championship.

On the global stage, can any other British coach claim more success this year? Possibly, but Cowen is most certainly right up there.

This has been a vintage year for the sport in the UK and Europe. Golf  - the men's game at least - has not been as prominent on the sports news agenda for many years.

It is to be hoped those who have given us so much excitement and the people behind those successes are duly recognised when the gongs are handed out. It would be nice if the ever prolific Davies is remembered, too.


  • Comment number 1.

    While the Ryder cup and US open were obviously fantastic achievements and highlights of his career to date, what i found to be most impressive was his win in Valderamma. the fact that he won despite not playing his best golf was for me, his arrival on the big stage. with the exception of TW I don't know of any other player that has managed to do this in the last 10 years.

  • Comment number 2.

    Great article as usual Iain, and a few more of these and it will be hard not to give the award to GMac.
    If he wins it then nobody will be happier than myself.
    A major championship, and then winning the Ryder Cup when the pressure was really on is surely enough to get him on the rostrum this year?
    Who would have expected him to have done 1 of these 2 achievements at the beginning of the season?
    And to top it all off, he seems like a really great fella ::))

  • Comment number 3.

    All praise to Laura Davies. Plays the game the right way and just keeps on going. Would be good if a few more golfers thought, like Laura, that completing a round in under 5 hours was not unreasonable

  • Comment number 4.

    Agree with all praise for Laura Davies.
    Perhaps the Sunday Times appreciation, or lack of it, of Dame Laura is proportionately similar to that of the BBC's Ladies Golf coverage?
    Iain, there's no doubt that Laura will be elected into the World Golf Hall Of Fame; the LPGA Hall has very strict entrance criteria that excludes achievements outside their own Tour, as you know. Difficult to argue against those criteria, but some sort of lifetime achievement award would at least offer some justice.

  • Comment number 5.

    Well done Laura, but no, sorry the others all deserve to be there more. They have all achieved in major championships this season. Laura Davies, good though she is has not done so.

  • Comment number 6.

    Laura Davies is a legend in women's golf and thoroughly deserves this accolade however the fact she won the Indian Open having carded a 78 in the second round says a lot about the current state of women's professional golf and the Ladies European tour in particular. The depth in quality is just not there and any win cannot be compared with the world class performances of the girls nominated for sportswoman of the year.

    On the subject on the slowness of play of women professional golfers, anyone (like me) who was at the British Women's Open at St. Andrews in 2007 will still be aghast at what they witnessed. Next year it's being held at Carnoustie, let's hope they install floodlights.

  • Comment number 7.

    Martin Kaymer's lead over McDowell in the Race to Dubai is now only 300000 Euro, having been 1 million only 3 weeks ago. If G-Mac can wrap that up to add to his US Open victory, 2 other season wins and the Ryder Cup, then he'll deserve every award going, Queen's New Year's Honours and a gold statue erected in Portrush. If the BBC viewers don't recognise him as Sports Personality of the Year ahead of perennial disappointments such as Andy Murray who keep getting nominated then the nation's sports fans are delusional

  • Comment number 8.

    Interesting article, Iain. Personally, I think the ladies game has been devalued in recent years by the attempts of some female golfers to enter male events, particularly Michelle Wie. Those moves suggested that the female pros didn't think their own comps were worth playing in, so why should we be expected to watch/take interest?

    Laura Davies' longevity has been fantastic. Obviously she is benefitting from the fact Ochua and Sorenstam are no longer competing, but it takes some doing to keep winning year after year!

  • Comment number 9.

    Laura is fantastic and has a great attitude towards her golf and as far as I can tell to life in general. Thank you for mentioning her and women's golf. I understand why there is not more on TV - it can be rather slow and mechanical. Not too many 'characters' in the Korean contingent.

  • Comment number 10.

    Great article.
    I have been lucky enough to spend many years watching Laura Davies compete and win many golf tournaments from majors like the LPGA Championship to smaller events such as Australian mini tour events.
    My fave is the one in Los Angeles back in 2000 when she had laser eye surgery 4days before winning.
    The way she takes everything in her stride is an example to not just women golfers out there but the general Joe Public.
    The LPGA hall of fame is without doubt one of the hardest in the world of sport to get into and I personally hope one day she finally wins that one more major or 2 regular events to get in.
    It would be a real shame if she were to not qualify.
    Long may we have golfers like Laura to entertain us and keep that do or die attitude.

  • Comment number 11.

    Good article Iain, I've been a critic of yours for concentrating on the tabloid headlines and not investigating a bit, so hats off!!!

    I hadn't realised that Laura had won so often this year. I had the pleasure of meeting her once and she is a remarkable individual. She really is a globetrotter and I am very happy that she has found her form again. She is a true warrior of the game. I agree that she fully deserves her place in the hall of fame but we know that our American cousins can be a bit blinkered so it shouldn't be a surprise that they have overlooked Laura's numerous achievements. I wouldn't put it past Laura to win again on the LPGA Tour. Now that Lorena Ochoa has retired there really isn't anyone who knows how to dominate and all the contenders for "best female golfer" have shown frailty on a regular basis.

    Laura cannot be accused of frailty. She may have suffered from over agression but she's got serious guts. Let's hope she continues.

    I also agree that it has been an incredible year for European golf. GMAC will get the awards but the supporting cast has been an absolute joy to watch all year. Long may it continue.


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