Laura Davies Accepts Special Exemption to 2009 U.S. Women’s Open

May 27, 2009

Far Hills, N.J. – Laura Davies, the 1987 U.S. Women’s Open champion, has accepted a special exemption from qualifying for the 2009 championship, to be contested July 9-12 on Saucon Valley Country Club’s Old Course in Bethlehem, Pa.

The exemption was offered by the United States Golf Association, which conducts the championship. The USGA reserves the right to offer additional special exemptions until the beginning of sectional qualifying on June 11.

“Laura is a champion who has truly earned an exemption into this year’s Women’s Open,” said Barbara Douglas, chairman of the USGA Women’s Committee. “Her stellar career makes her one of the top female professionals in the world, and we are thrilled to have her in the championship field for a 24th consecutive year.”

Davies won the 1987 U.S. Women's Open at Plainfield (N.J.) Country Club in an 18-hole playoff with Ayako Okamoto and JoAnne Carner. It was the English golfer’s first professional victory in the United States. Davies has played in every U.S. Women’s Open since 1986, recording eight top-15 finishes.

“The U.S. Women’s Open is one of the highlights of the year for me, so to be given an exemption into this year’s championship means a lot to me,” said Davies. “I’m really looking forward to the week at Saucon Valley in July and I’m sure it will be as memorable as the past 23 U.S. Women’s Opens have been for me.”

In addition to her triumph at the 1987 U.S. Women’s Open, Davies has won 19 professional tournaments in the U.S. In 1994, she finished first on the LPGA money list after recording three victories, including the McDonald’s LPGA Championship. She added two more major titles in 1996, the McDonald’s LPGA Championship and the du Maurier Classic, en route to Rolex Player of the Year honors.

Davies, 45, also owns 52 international victories, including the 2009 Women’s Australian Open, and has been the top-ranked European player seven times, most recently in 2006. Davies has also played on every European Solheim Cup team since the start of the event in 1990 and has a 21-16-4 overall record. She is the only player from either team in Solheim Cup history to play in every event.

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The USGA is the national governing body of golf in the USA and Mexico, a combined territory that includes more than half the world’s golfers and golf courses. 

The Association’s most visible role is played out each season in conducting 13 national championships, including the U.S. Open, U.S. Women’s Open and U.S. Senior Open. Ten USGA national championships are exclusively for amateurs, and include the U.S. Amateur and the U.S. Women’s Amateur.

The USGA also writes the Rules of Golf, conducts equipment testing, provides expert course maintenance consultations, funds research for better turf and a better environment, maintains a Handicap System®, celebrates the history of the game, and administers an ongoing “For the Good of the Game” grants program, which has allocated more than $63 million over 12 years to successful programs that bring the game’s values to youths from disadvantaged backgrounds and people with disabilities.


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