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Interview with Laura Davies ahead of the 2012 OMEGA Dubai Ladies Masters

The golf in DUBAi Ambassador on returning to Dubai after her win on the Legends Tour and her hunger for the game.

Laura Davies, welcome back to the OMEGA Dubai Ladies Masters.  You've had some success here in Dubai but still pushing for the first win.  What's your goal this week?

            LAURA DAVIES:  This week it's a win.  It's a strong field assembled again but the last few weeks I've played very well.  Last week didn't hole a huge amount putts, so if you can keep up the good play with the decent putting, even against a strong field, I think I have a good chance and we'll just see come Saturday morning and get out there and try to get a bit of luck on the back fine.

Q. How do you assess the strength of field here?

            LAURA DAVIES:  Yeah, it's good.  A lot of the girls, some of them will be tired coming back from American Tour School and then you have the likes of Lexi and Michelle Wie; anytime they can turn it on.  It's a good, strong, European depth of field, as well.

Q. So you're feeling confident?

            LAURA DAVIES:  Like I say, I won that tournament in Florida a couple of weeks ago, but still winning is winning and that's the important thing.  I still have the same feelings trying to win it, even though it wasn't on the regular tour.  But you've still got to hole the putts when you need to.


            Q.  Are you looking forward to the champions field ‑‑ or if the younger ‑‑

            LAURA DAVIES:  It's one of those things, my main goal is obviously the LPGA and LET tour and the odd week here and there where the Senior Tour schedule fits in, and I'll go play, it's great fun playing with Patty Sheehan again, JoAnne Carner, Nancy Lopez, people I don't see very often anymore.  It was great to see them again.

            Obviously trying to win two more tournaments in America, qualify for the Hall of Fame and just keep trying to win events on The European Tour.  But it is a nice thing to be able to go and play with the oldies as I am now, so that would be nice.


            Q.  You mentioned about the two wins for the Hall of Fame; do you feel slightly ‑‑

            LAURA DAVIES:  No, it's quite simple.  You have to get 20 whatever points it is, 26 I think it is, you get one point for a win two, points for a major and one point for being Player of the Year.  That's how I've got my 24 or 25 or whatever, I'm not exactly sure.  And I'm short of that total, and that's my fault, no one else's.

            It's a hard Hall of Fame to get into.  The World Hall of Fame is a different thing ‑‑ I've had people kind of say, would you go in if you were asked.  Obviously they are not going to invite anyone to go in who is going to say no, and I've said when I get into the LPGA Hall of Fame come talk to me, but the LPGA Hall of Fame is what it's all about for me.


            Q.  You've played here before; where do you think it's won and lost on this course?

            LAURA DAVIES:  It's the sort of course that if you're playing well, then you're going to make lots of birdies, so if you want to win it, you've got to be on that side of it.

            Last year I didn't play well and I missed the cut.  I got punished for bad shots so you have to be coming in here with a positive attitude because you have to shoot between, I would say, 13 and 17‑under to win it.  I don't know what Lexi shot last year, but ‑‑ is it 15?  Yeah, you've got to make lots of birdies, and that's the overriding thing.  You've got to start attacking the course from the word go because 5‑under is not going to win this thing.


            Q.  Quite a few of the courses that you encounter are more designed perhaps for all golfers; is that a problem around here, would you say, is that too much for the ladies tour to take on these 18?

            LAURA DAVIES:  I don't remember saying that.  All I said was the courses are set up where it doesn't help longer hitters on the ladies tour.

            I don't know how to interpret ‑‑ I think this is one of our best courses because the men play on there and because there are some great holes out there and a recognized championship course.

            I wish we played on more courses that men do because we tend to play a lot ‑‑ especially in America and you are limited in what you can do.  You have to hit a lot of irons and this course, you have to get after it early and try to take advantage of the par 5s.  It gives you a chance around here.  You have to take some risks.  No, I don't think it's too much course for us.


            Q.  This week there's one player in the field who is trying to ‑‑ winning as a rookie, the Order of Merit.  Your thoughts on her?

            LAURA DAVIES:  Are we talking Carlota here?  She seems to get around.  Played with her when she was an amateur six or seven years ago in the British Open.  So I've known her for a long time now.

            Yeah, she's certainly got the game to do it.  I don't know what the situation is with her, and I'm not sure who is leading but they have both played really consistently all year and I imagine on Saturday they will both be in with a chance of winning so it could do down to the last few holes.

            I think the rookies are different nowadays.  Most of them come out with a college career, especially in America, and a lot of the girls here go to colleges.  So they have been involved in top‑standard golf for a long time even as amateurs.  They are not the true sense of a rookie, that you know, someone should be struggling.  They don't struggle.  They just come out and they are ready to and when you have the talent that Carlota has got, you can take that a long way and that's what she's doing.  I've played with her a lot this year and she's very impressive.


            Q.  (Inaudible.)

            LAURA DAVIES:  Rory had such a year ‑‑ because sometimes a player gets on a roll and they do that.  Yeah, this year, it's those two going for it.  It's fun.  It's a side plot for a few players, but all of the other players are interested, too, because you play with these people week‑in, week‑out.  You're interested to see who can do well and you have your favorites.  I like Caroline, but like I said I've known Carlota for quite a while and I'd like to see her finish the job off.


            Q.  Last year it finished early, as well, the winner, they had already secured it.

            LAURA DAVIES:  They had already sealed it.  Oh, Ai Miyazato.  It's a shame when ‑‑ the trouble is with our Money List is that if you win the British Open or Evian Masters, you might be ‑‑ or a European Tour player like Ai and I am because she was a member, you can seal it up with those big events.  Luckily the other one that one, Inbee Park won this year, and she's not a member of the Tour, so it doesn't have such a dramatic effect on the Money List and that's why we've got the battle we've got.


            Q.  Can that be helped?

            LAURA DAVIES:  If all of the other tournaments stepped up to the Evian Masters, it wouldn't be one tournament that would have such a dramatic effect on the Money List.  But that is a stand‑out and now it's going to be a major.  We have a lot of really good events in Europe but they don't quite have the money.  At the end of the day, that's what wins Money Lists is the bigger money events.  You can win five small events and not be in the Top 15 on the Money List.  That's just the way it is.

            It's difficult.  I mean, I think the Tour is doing really well considering everything.  They have got lots of tournaments.  Hopefully we are going to hear the schedule for next year this week I understand and it will be good.  All of the girls and the staff deserve it, because they have been working hard, so hopefully it will work out.


            Q.  (Inaudible.) ‑‑

            LAURA DAVIES:  With the TV coverage, that's an added side plot and people like to see that.  They like to see winners and certainly if Carlota can do it being a rookie as well.


            Q.  Assessment of your year, you're coming into this with a bit of confidence, how do you think your year has gone?

            LAURA DAVIES:  Yeah, but that's not good enough.  I looked at it last night and I worked out that if I win this week I would finish third, and it would be an okay year ‑‑ it would be very good to win this tournament, so that's my goal is to finish third which is the best I can do.

            But lost a playoff in Germany; could have won another couple of events.  Didn't get the right things happen going down the stretch.  And not winning a regular Tour event this year and last year is very disappointing.  I would say this year is not good.

            A win here would make it okay, but it's not been what I want.  I want to be competing every week trying to win tournaments, not just hang on, make the cut, finish 18th, 20th.  It's a disappointment.


            Q.  What part of your game has changed ‑‑ (Inaudible.)

            LAURA DAVIES:  I think I'm a better golfer now.  You should get better and better, sometimes you lose your strength, but because of the equipment changes over the years, I still hit the ball the same distance, and mentally I'm better and worse.  I'm not as (indiscernible) as I used to be as a 21‑year‑old when I turned pro, but I think better on the golf course.

            So it's a good combination but sometimes it's difficult to ‑‑ I used to stand on the hole and just go for it and not worry about the consequences.  Years and years, having good and bad things happen, it works your mind over, so I think that's the bad side of it.  But like I said, the good side, I probably made less mistakes because of that.


            Q.  For you, obviously for someone who is so used to success the past two seasons have been disappointing, I mean, does that ‑‑ do you get ‑‑ do you get frustrated with yourself or how ‑‑ what's the sort of mind process as you look going into the next season with what is perceived in your eyes to be a disappointing period of time in your career?

            LAURA DAVIES:  Well, I go in with looking forward to playing and trying to win again because that's all I really want to do is win tournaments.  I love when I finish seventh last week on a course that doesn't really suit my game.

            I'm pleased with the performance, but again, I had a chance to win, and ended up being something like 11 shots back and I went the other way.  Things like that are disappointing.  I've been in position this year, four or five tournaments, not done it, but that bodes well for next year because I know there's lots more left in me.

            The win on the Seniors Tour did me some good ‑‑ put the pressure on and you still have the same feelings, like I said earlier, that you have to win.  So at least I know that I can still do it.  Although that was at a lower level, a different sort of competition.  But it was nice to come through that.  So that will hopefully help me this week and in Australia at the start of the year.


            Q.  How long were you a rookie before you won the Order of Merit and do you think Carlota has been a rookie too long?

            LAURA DAVIES:  I turned pro in '85 and that was my rookie year, I came straight out from playing amateur golf, so I was a true rookie.  I had maybe played in two or three British Opens as an amateur, so a lot of these girls now play so many tournaments, so I didn't actually know what a rookie was.  I think I was a true rookie in my day, but I got off to a good start and that was good enough to carry me through on that year.


            Q.  Last year you obviously missed the cut, obviously for ladies that do that here, it's disappointing to end the season in that fashion; whereas the men play without a cut.  Would you like to see all of the ladies who got here be rewarded with no cut or just playing straight?

            LAURA DAVIES:  No, it's our year‑ending event but it's not the culmination of The Race to Dubai where only a certain amount qualify.  This is a full‑field event basically.  You have to have a cut, you want the Top 60 on Sunday or Saturday that is playing, and yeah, I was mortified to miss the cut.

            I represent golf in DUBAi and having missed the cut in their tournament, I felt awful and I just wanted to get out of here.  And Adrian was nice enough to let me leave on that night, and I did, because, you feel embarrassed when you miss the cut, or I do; if I miss a cut, I feel ashamed and you just want to get away from the venue.  But to not have a cut here, no, I don't see any reason for that.


            Q.  Does it surprise you to see girls at the age of 14 or 15 win on the Tour?

            LAURA DAVIES:  Lydia Ko, extraordinary, I played in that event, and that was a hard golf course.  And again I missed the cut, left feeling ashamed again.  You see someone like that 14 years old not even batting an eyelid under that sort of pressure, and she had some good names around her.  Made a couple of mistakes on the weekend but every time she did that, she made a birdie.  That will never be beaten, a 14‑year‑old will never win a tournament.  That was an incredible performance.

            I've seen her on the range a few times.  She seems, you know, just hits it straight, keeps it in play, probably putts very well.  I don't know, she might be fed up with it by the time she's 21, you just don't know.

            But at the moment, that was an incredible performance.  She won in New South Wales at the beginning of the year in Australia and I played in that tournament, too.  Again, cool as a cucumber and won the tournament.


            Q.  (Inaudible.)

            LAURA DAVIES:  Yeah, absolutely, winning two more tournaments or a major will get me in the Hall of Fame, that would be a big thing.  I would love to win the British Open.  Seems like a pipedream because I haven't won in two years, but I know I can still win and I know I'm still good enough and it's just a matter of putting it right and doing it when you need to do it and not feeling the pressure at the wrong times and making bad decisions.  That's what I've done the last couple of years.

            The year before, five wins, it all seemed very easy again.  Who knows; I might never do it.  But I think I can, and normally if you think you can do something, pretty much you can.


            Q.  Will you stop the day you've done it?

            LAURA DAVIES:  Well, I see no signs of slowing down.  Yeah, I play a lot of tournaments, I still enjoy it and I think that I can win.  If I wake up and think, I've got to go to that tournament and just try to make the cut, then you're finished.  I think any pro is finished at that point.  A lot of players don't win tournaments in their career and they are a journeyman, but there are a lot of players that do win and can win and know they can win.


            Q.  I don't want to ask the retirement question or anything like that ‑‑ (laughter) ‑‑ just going to say, the Senior Tour, is that an indication that you kind of ‑‑

            LAURA DAVIES:  Like I said, it's a fun thing to do to see some of my old mates over the years.  If you've got a week off and you'd like to play in the tournament ‑‑ because I'm not sure how they fit into the LPGA Tour.  Probably the senior players don't want them to be involved.  I haven't seen the schedule yet.  But it's something I love to do.  But there's only sort of ten events, nine events.  But no, I'm not backing off at all.  I'm trying to win a tournament.


            Q.  You've still got the love?

            LAURA DAVIES:  Yeah, and also, what else can I do?  I left school at 16.  I'm no good to anyone.


            Q.  Do you think you get the retirement question more often ‑‑

            LAURA DAVIES:  Vijay, I don't think he's being asked when he's going to retire.  Freddie Couples, he's older than me, no one is asking him when he's going to retire; Monty.  Every time I win a tournament, someone says, when are you going to retire? It's like, well, you know ‑‑ you're playing the best of your life, are you going to chuck it away?

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