Few golfers on either side of the gender line are as devoted to spreading the gospel of the game as Anna Rawson. She spent a few minutes chatting with Devil Ball about her current plans, her hopes for the LPGA, and why silence is in no way golden ...
Okay, so let's talk about why you're here. You're involved in a new tournament, and you need our help.
Yes! It's a new tournament called Mojo6, and it's got a unique format - 16 players against each other in match play over six holes. It's going to be a lot of fun for the fans, and it's going to be a totally different experience. I'm excited to be one of the 12 players being voted in for the last spot. Fifteen have already been chosen, and I'm hoping to be the 16th. So I need your help and I need your vote! You can go to annarawson.com or themojo6.com and enter your email to vote for me.
You've had a number of rather forward-thinking ideas for ways to kick-start the women's game. How have those ideas been met?
The fans love them. The players are a lot slower to embrace change. They don't like gimmicks. It's been met with a little bit of hesitancy, but I'm hoping that Mojo6 can show them a new way.
I'm also donating my entire winnings to charity. I'm benefitting only by playing, but I'm hoping I can get in and win some money for some good causes - International Medical Corps, UNICEF, and Inspire, which helps kids affected by suicide.
Are there some formats that you think the LPGA could implement that wouldn't be quite so revolutionary?
Adding formats like this, trying them out, see how they go. We're doing nine-hole interviews, where when we get to the turn we do a short interview. You want to know how the golfers are doing while they're playing, so you can put them on the spot to see if they're nervous, or whatever.
I think we need to get more interactive, as we're doing with this voting. We need to get the fans involved. The question is, how can we help get them more involved in the game?
What music would you march to the first tee to?
Flo Rida's "Low" - "gotta get low, low, low..." It'll inspire me to shoot 64.
That'll work. So how is your own game coming along?
Really good. I worked really hard this offseason. I had more time off this year than ever, and my coach loved it. We focused on my short game. And I've also got all new clubs in my bag, so it's been interesting to find the right one. I'm really excited to play.
You're as much a brand as a golfer. Was this a conscious decision to market yourself outside of golf?
I started modeling around the same time as I started playing golf. It's been a lot of fun to combine the two. The greatest thing I want is to bring more fans to the game, especially women. So if I can reach them through a fashion magazine, they can see me playing golf, and maybe they'll want to play golf too.
What's the strangest message you've ever gotten from a fan? Have there been any marriage proposals?
[Laughs] ... there may have been a few.
Even one is bad enough.
The coolest thing was in Dubai, where these four guys had on shirts that had A N N A on them. They followed me for my whole round, and I got a picture with them afterward. That was awesome.
Golf is a humbling game. What is it that keeps you coming back, year after year?
Constant improvement. Every year, I continue to climb up the rankings. That's what keeps me coming back. I want to reach my potential and keep getting better. Every year, I learn so much, every year I change my strategy. The way I practice now and look at the game, from when I started, is completely different.
What's something you wish you'd known as a rookie that you know now?
Spend the money. Do everything you can possibly do to work with the right instruction. When you're starting out, everything costs so much - the top caddy, top this, top that - that you're cutting corners trying to save money. But the women's game is difficult enough. I wish back then I'd invested more in myself.
When I started out, I just didn't have the guidance, didn't have anyone telling me, "this is the formula." It's hard to find that out on your own.
You've got a very casual mindset. What ticks you off on the golf course? Slow play? Fans heckling you?
My bad golf game [laughs]. Mistakes. I hate my mistakes. I love the fans. I wish we had a stadium hole like they have at Phoenix at every hole. I love the crowd, and I love to play off the crowd. It's like that scene in "Happy Gilmore" where Adam Sandler turns to the crowd and says, "Make some noise!" I've felt like that a couple times. The silence is a bit daunting.
Finally, what's your favorite shot you've ever hit?
I hit a pretty good 7-iron yesterday at the Hogan's Bridge hole in Augusta that ended about a foot left of the hole. It was about a one-yard draw, I hit it perfect, and nearly holed it out. That was pretty special.
To see more about Anna and vote her into the Mojo6 competition, visit her website at AnnaRawson.com.