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April 28, 1997
Davies Gets Her Kicks
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April 28, 1997

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Davies Gets Her Kicks

When the Myrtle Beach ( S.C.) SeaDawgs, a minor league soccer team, invited Laura Davies to play in their season opener last Friday, the reigning LPGA Player of the Year jumped at the chance. How fun, she thought, to make a cameo appearance in the fledgling U.S. women's pro soccer league.

Two days before the game, however, Davies found out that the SeaDawgs are a men's team. Nonetheless, she decided to take the field. "Why not?" said Davies, who was in Myrtle Beach for the Komen International, where she shot a five-under 283 to finish 13th, seven shots behind winner Karrie Webb.

Davies is widely known on the tour as a soccer fanatic. She grew up in England playing the game with her older brothers and three years ago hired a bulldozer crew to carve out a 60-by-30-yard pitch on her estate in West Byfleet, England. There, Davies often dons the red-and-whites of her beloved Liverpool team and hosts her version of a garden party: six-a-side games in which she can usually be found barreling hell-bent toward the opposing team's goal. Davies describes her playing style as resembling that of renowned English footballer Paul Gascoigne. "But with a millionth of his skills," she says.

Davies played the first six minutes of the SeaDawgs' game against the North Jersey Imperials, which attracted 2,227 fans, including two dozen LPGA players and caddies who came to watch despite temperatures in the 40s. "I was incredibly nervous," she said afterward. "Basically I realized I was out of my depth. I had no idea how good the players really were."

Her teammates, though, looked for her often. In the grand tradition of wacky minor league promotions, SeaDawgs officials offered $500 to any player who assisted on a Davies goal. Given that the players make between $200 and $400 a week, it was not surprising that Davies's teammates treated her as if she really were Gascoigne. Playing forward, she touched the ball four times—a high number for such a brief stint. On her third touch she ran onto a perfect pass just outside the penalty box. "I should have shot it right there," Davies says. Instead she tried to set up a give-and-go. In the process, she unceremoniously fell on her bum. ("The biggest cheer I got the entire game," she says.) Myrtle Beach lost 4-1.

Although Davies says hers was a one-time appearance, she can always make a comeback. Upon agreeing to play for the SeaDawgs, she signed a contract that will keep her with the franchise through 2000. Her salary: one dollar per year.

A Heartwarming Return To the European Tour
Always appreciative of a good drama, the city of Cannes was stirred by the comeback of David Carter of England, who, just seven weeks after a life-saving operation on his brain. shot a 62 on Sunday to finish second to Stuart Cage in the Cannes Open. In mid-February the 24-year-old Carter bumped his head on a water slide in South Africa, sustaining a slight concussion. He seemed to have recovered. But two weeks later, on the eve of the Dubai Desert Classic, two of his golfing friends, England's Iain Pyman and Roger Wessels of South Africa, found him unconscious in his hotel room. When doctors discovered fluid on Carter's brain, they had to drill a hole into the top of his head to relieve pressure and drain the fluid. "If nobody had found me in the hotel, I would have been a goner," says Carter.

Monty Plans to Join Exodus to U.S.

Colin Montgomerie insists that he will wait until November to make a final decision on his plans for 1998. According to several sources, however, the 33-year-old Scot has assured officials at Callaway, the club-maker he represents, that he intends to play the PGA Tour full time next year.

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