Biography of Golf Hall-of-Famer Laura Davies

Laura Davies tees off during the 1997 LPGA Championship tournament.
Golfer Laura Davies pictured during the LPGA Championship — a major she won twice — in 1997. Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Laura Davies might have seemed like the second coming of JoAnne Carner when Davies played the 1987 U.S. Women's Open: A big golfer with big drives. So maybe it was appropriate that Davies wound up in an 18-hole playoff along with Carner (and Ayako Okamoto).

And when Davies won that playoff, it was a victory that led the LPGA to amend its constitution. Davies wasn't even a member of the LPGA Tour at that point, so the LPGA changed its constitution to grant Davies automatic membership.

Davies' best years brought her four wins in major championships. Always a world traveler, Davies won nearly 90 times on various tours around the world over her career. She was known for booming drives and for being that rare professional golfer who never worked with a swing coach. And after many years of waiting, she was finally elected to the World Golf Hall of Fame.

Tour Victories by Davies

  • LPGA: 20 (wins listed below)
  • LET: 45
  • Japan LPGA: 7

Davies also won eight times on the ALPG Tour in Australian, twice on the Ladies Asian Golf Course and once on the LPGA's senior circuit, the Legends Tour.

  • Major Championships: 4

Davies' wins in major championships happened at the 1987 U.S. Women's Open, the 1996 du Maurier Classic and the LPGA Championship in 1994 and 1996. Davies also had wins in the Women's British Open and Evian Masters — tournaments that count as majors today — but well before those events were elevated to major championship status.  

Awards and Honors for Laura Davies

  • Member, World Golf Hall of Fame
  • LPGA Player of the Year, 1996
  • LPGA money leader, 1994
  • Member, Europe Solheim Cup team, 1990, 1992, 1994, 1996, 1998, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2005, 2007, 2009, 2011
  • Member, Great Britain & Ireland Curtis Cup team, 1984
  • Awarded M.B.E. (Member of the British Empire), 1988
  • Awarded C.B.E. (Commander of the Order of the British Empire), 2000

Laura Davies' Start In Golf

Davies was born on Oct. 5, 1963 in Coventry, England. She began playing tournament golf at age 7.

“My brother Tony introduced me to golf,” said Davies. “If it wasn’t for him, I would have never played. We were a very competitive family and I always wanted to beat my brother. I remember when I was 16 years old, I dusted him.”

Competing with her brother helped Davies to reign in her emotions. She said that she and her brother were both club-throwers: "I used to sling the old golf club quite a distance. Tony and I used to be dreadful. We would spend 20 minutes or longer trying to retrieve a club one of us had thrown into a tree."

Davies' amateur career gained steam in the early 1980s, when she won several big regional and national events in the U.K. She also played her way onto the Great Britain and Ireland team for the 1984 Curtis Cup.

Davies Goes Pro, Becomes a Major Winner

Davies turned pro in 1985 and led the Ladies European Tour in money in 1985 and 1986. Then she showed up in America and walked off with the 1987 U.S. Women's Open.

Her rookie year on the LPGA was 1988, and she won twice that year. Her most productive stretch on the LPGA was 1994-96, when she won nine times and finished second nine times; and finished first, second and second, respectively, on the money list.

Davies was clearly one of the best female golfers in the world during this time, as she also won three more majors.

Davies was never very consistent on the LPGA; she didn't rack up tons of Top 10 finishes. But when her putter — a club she often struggled with — got hot to go along with her booming drives, she became a threat to win. Her most recent victory on the LPGA was in 2001, although she has wins on other tours since then.

Davies the World Traveler

Davies never confined herself to the LPGA, playing often back home on the LET, and also in Asia and Australia. In addition to the 20 wins she has totaled on the LPGA Tour, Davies has more than 40 wins on the LET and a handful of wins on other tours, too. In total, she has nearly 90 tournament wins across the globe.

She's even played on traditionally men's tours, competing in an Asian PGA Tour event in 2003, and a tournament cosponsored by the Australasian PGA and the European Tour in 2004.

Davies continues regularly playing both LPGA and LET tournaments well into her 50s. In 2018, she won her first senior majors at the first-ever U.S. Senior Women's Open plus the Senior LPGA Championship.

Laura Davies at the Solheim Cup

Davies played in every Solheim Cup competition from that event's founding in 1990 through 2011, a total of 12 appearances on Team Europe. That's the record for most times a golfer has played in the Solheim Cup.

Davies also holds the all-time Solheim Cup records for most matches played (46) and most points won (25), and shares, with Annika Sorenstam, the record for most match wins (22). Davies' overall match record was 22 wins, 18 losses, and six halves.

Laura Davies and the World Golf Hall of Fame

For many years, Davies languished two points shy of automatic World Golf Hall of Fame induction on the LPGA's point-based qualification system for the Hall. She had 25 points; 27 points were needed for induction. (The LPGA awards two points for a major win, one point for a "regular" win, and one point for winning the Vare Trophy or Player of the Year awards.)

Davies never made it to 27 points — but she did make into the World Golf Hall of Fame. How? In 2014 the WGHOF announced changes to its induction criteria, including that it would no longer follow the LPGA's point system. The Hall voted Davies in as part of its first class after those changes were announced.

Quote, Unquote

Quoting Laura Davies:

  • "I guess I'm not a professional's professional. I think I'd rather go to the dentist than play a practice round."
  • "Top-level pro golf has to speed up. That to me is killing the interest. I don't want to stand around and watch myself wait five minutes to hit a shot into a green."
  • "Some people practice just for the sake of practicing, and don't get any better. My advice to women like that is: Do less, relax, have trust in your talent. At least, that's what worked for me. ... My game is very natural. I can pick up a club after the winter break and make a good shot straight away."

Laura Davies Trivia

  • In 1997, Laura Davies won the Standard Register Ping for the fourth consecutive year, setting a record for most consecutive wins in the same LPGA tournament. (The record was later broken by Annika Sorenstam at the Mizuno Classic.)
  • In 2004 Davies set the LPGA single-season record with 19 eagles.

Laura Davies' LPGA Wins

  • 1987 U.S. Women's Open
  • 1988 Circle K LPGA Tucson Classic
  • 1988 Jamie Farr Toledo Classic
  • 1989 Lady Keystone Open
  • 1991 Inamori Classic
  • 1993 McDonald's Championship
  • 1994 Standard Register Ping
  • 1994 Sara Lee Classic
  • 1994 McDonald's LPGA Championship
  • 1995 Standard Register Ping
  • 1995 Chick-fil-A Charity Championship
  • 1996 Standard Register Ping
  • 1996 McDonald's LPGA Championship
  • 1996 du Maurier Classic
  • 1996 Star Bank LPGA Classic
  • 1997 Standard Register Ping
  • 1998 PageNet Tour Championship
  • 2000 Los Angeles Women's Championship
  • 2000 The Philips Invitational
  • 2001 Wegmans Rochester International