AS AN ardent Liverpool FC fan, Laura Davies has observed the comings and goings at Anfield this summer with interest.
And as England’s most successful woman golfer, she has seen the changing of the guard in a career spanning four decades and liberally decorated with more than 80 tournament victories worldwide.
The emergence of a new youthful generation of players – especially from Asia – have added an extra depth to the women’s game.
But at the age of 49 Davies shows no signs of losing her competitive edge.
She arrived on Merseyside this week for the Ricoh Women’s British Open on the back of a runners-up finish at the Uniqa Ladies Open in Austria and with forecasts predicting regular muggings from the wind and rain over the course of the next four days at Hoylake, her experience could yet prove invaluable.
And she won’t be holding back – eschewing the Tiger Woods approach that brought him victory in the 2006 Open without once resorting to his driver.
“The fairways are so narrow here – some are barely wider than a table – so you are going to end up in the rough at some point,” she explained.
“The chat before was you have to lay up before the bunkers to be sensible, but my view is that if you are going to end up in the rough it may as well be as far down the hole as you can and near the greens.
“It might be that I go down in flames, but we’ll certainly have a go because this is a course that will overpower you quickly if you’re not careful.
“It’s going to be incredibly hard out there, but you’ve not got to be too defensive.”
The Ricoh Women’s British Open is making its first visit to Hoylake – as is Davies who got her first view of the links during Tuesday’s wind-battered pro-am.
“It was a bit of a shock,” she admitted.
“But it is a fabulous course and there isn’t a bad hole on it. I always thought Lytham was one of the best bunkered courses I ever played, but this is on a par to it.”
If Davies is reaching the ‘veteran’ stage of the career, one of her playing partners in today’s opening round is very much at the beginning of her golfing career.
Emily Taylor – who plays out of Southport club Hillside – is just 17, still an amateur and embarking on her first appearance on such a big stage to cap a golden summer in which she has won English, Irish and British titles as well as being a key international player for England.
“I haven’t seen her play but I’m sure if she had a good season her confidence is high and if your confidence is high, you can pretty much play anywhere, any type of golf,” said Davies, who won the British Open back in 1986 – just 12 months after turning professional. “So she should just keep doing what she’s doing. Stepping on the first tee there will be lots and lots of people but she has got to blinker that out. It is one of those things you can either do or you can’t”
The fixture list means there will be no chance to Davies to include a visit to Anfield during her time in the area, but she is confident that Brendan Rogers’ red revolution will eventually pay dividends.
However, like most supporters, she was left dismayed by the lack of a striking arrival during the transfer window.
“I thought I was going to get a call for the striker’s role against Sunderland,” she joked.
“I don’t know how it worked out that we lost our only true striker, but I’m sure Brendan knows what he is doing, He has my full backing – if that means much to him!
“We should have beaten Manchester City and given the fixture list it was always going to be a difficult start.”
Davies will be hoping that while Liverpool’s forwards find their shooting boots this weekend, she too can achieve her goal of earning a place in the golfing Hall of Fame.
Just as Liverpool need the points, so too does Davies. Two more will add a fitting accolade to her place in the women’s game making victory this weekend every bit as welcome as a Suarez hat-trick.