Legendary Laura Davies, back in the booth to cover the Ryder Cup, talks Seve, Solheim and why Bryson and Brooks should team up

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Laura Davies, who at age 57 has made the cut in her last three LPGA starts, will be back in the booth this week for Sky Sports to cover her second Ryder Cup, this time at Whistling Straits.

The legendary player represented Europe in 12 Solheim Cups, including the first one in 1990, and served as a vice captain for Catriona Matthew in the last two Cups. The four-time major winner with 87 titles worldwide shows no signs of slowing down.

Golfweek recently caught up with Davies, who lights up the commentary box as well as she has the interview room for decades.

What’s your preparation like to cover a men’s event?

When I do features like I have the last two days, I do a bit of homework and make sure I know the facts on the various bits that I know I’m going to do. Just normally I react to what’s happening on the golf course in the coverage. It’s just a normal event, like a British Open. Obviously the guys hit it a lot farther, so you’ve got to be ready for the clubbing and bits like that. But really and truly golf’s golf, so you just talk about it.

What are your impressions of Whistling Straits?

I know these guys are so unbelievably good, but it just looks like a huge golf course. I know they were setting it up more for the Americans, lots of birdies, but I think if this wind keeps blowing, I’m not sure if it’s going to be a birdie-fest. Par could end up being pretty good on some of those holes.

I’m not sure you could set it up for either team really because these guys hit it so long now. It’s hard to say one team has an advantage on the actual style of the golf course to another.

Ryder Cup 2021
Ryder Cup 2021

Bryson DeChambeau of team United States speaks to the media prior to the 43rd Ryder Cup at Whistling Straits on Sept. 21, 2021 in Haven, Wisconsin. Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

What do you make of the Bryson/Brooks feud?

To be honest, I don’t know much about it. I just know that they’ve had some sort of argument a year or so ago and it’s just kept bubbling on and bubbling on, I suppose. Certainly when it comes to the Ryder Cup, they should put their differences aside.

In fact, one of the features I did was if I was Steve Stricker what would my Friday morning foursomes be, and I put them together. There was a little bit of devilment in it, see what would happen. I actually think their games would be suited in foursomes. They’re both strong guys who like to hit drivers and try to overpower golf courses.

Only the American room would know if it’s a real rift and there’s no going back from it, or whether they can get out there and try and win a point for the team. … It was like a pure fantasy league thing, who would you put out.

If I knew that they weren’t that bothered about playing with each other, I think they would be a great team. That was the angle I was coming from. It certainly wouldn’t be to let them start punching it out on the golf course.

Ryder Cup 1991, Kiawah Island
Ryder Cup 1991, Kiawah Island

Seve Ballesteros with members of Team Europe during the 1991 Ryder Cup matches at Kiawah Island. (Photo by Simon Bruty/Getty Images)

Who’s your all-time favorite Ryder Cup player?

Seve, without a doubt. My favorite match ever, he actually lost it, was the one he played against Tom Lehman (in 1995) when Tom Lehman was one of the best players in the world. He led off for the Americans and the European captain put Seve out there knowing full well Seve was really struggling at the time with his game. Seve took him, I think, to 17. (Editor’s note: Lehman won 4 and 3.) He was hitting shots that were ridiculous. Bad shots to get him into to trouble, but the way he kept getting up and down and holing putts just to keep the match going on and on – that’s my most memorable Ryder Cup match.

What’s your early impression of Padraig Harrington as captain?

As you’d expect, quite analytical. He likes all the facts and figures. Obviously they’ve done all that, but then when the guys are here it sounds like he’s just kind of do their own thing. … in many ways like Beany (European Solheim Cup captain Catriona Matthew). Beany wasn’t analytical in any way, shape or form, but it looks like he’s just going to let them do what they do week in and week out, the stuff that got them here in the first place.

Solheim Cup
Solheim Cup

Members of Team Europe pose for a photo after winning the 2021 Solheim Cup at Invernes Club in Toledo, Ohio. Photo by Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

What do you think was the key to Europe’s success at the Solheim?

I just think we had the strongest team we’d ever had. From the No. 1 player, obviously you’d put that as (Anna) Nordqvist because she’d just won the Open, right to the rookies. … It was a pretty cohesive team and Beany was happy playing everyone at least twice, obviously before the singles.

I think the fact that she believed in them, they fed off that and I think they realized from the very early outset that we had a good chance of winning. Overall it was just a great team effort.

Who are you most looking forward to watch this week on both teams?

I’m curious about Bryson (DeChambeau). I want to see if he drives the first, because I think it’s definitely on. He just fascinates me the way he goes about it.

And European-wise, (Viktor) Hovland. It would be really nice to see if he’s as good as we all think he’s going to be in a Ryder Cup setting. Because obviously he’s never done it before, but he’s one of the best players in the world. It will be interesting for me to see if the Ryder cup pressure gets to him and he doesn’t perform. I don’t think it will, he plays with these guys week in and week out.

Maybe that first tee might scare him a bit, but these youngsters these days don’t seem to worry about that.

Laura Davies at the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship at the Atlanta Athletic Club. Photo by Adam Hagy-USA TODAY Sports

What’s your playing schedule for the rest of the year and how are you feeling about your game?

I’m very happy with the way I’m playing. My next two tournaments will be Atlantic City (ShopRite) and Founders, both in New Jersey, and then I’m going to play the Saudi event (Aramco Team Series), and there’s a chance I might go to Dubai the week before.

It’s still the putting that’s letting me down. It’s such a shame because my long game is really as good as it’s been for a very long time. … I made the last three cuts, I’m hoping to make the next two but also have at least one of those be a decent finish. A top 10 would be great.

Who’s your pick to win the Ryder Cup?

I would take a tie because that means we retain. I think the American team is very strong. If we could silence the crowd, we could definitely win it.

I would take a draw but you never know, we might just nick it anyway.