Anna Davis: What I’ve learned since winning at Augusta National
One year ago, Anna Davis’ life changed when she won the Augusta National Women’s Amateur. In the time since, she’s traveled the world, played in major championships, and become a viral sensation. In the lead up to her title defense at Augusta, Davis sat down with GOLF to discuss what she’s learned during the craziest year of her life.
What I’ve learned
Pressure is real. I’ve always been pretty chill on the course, but after I won the Augusta Women’s Am, it got harder to stay composed sometimes. The expectations got bigger. People I didn’t even know suddenly expected greatness, and those expectations came with pressure to perform. It wasn’t always easy to deal with that.
How to block out the noise. The ANWA win vaulted me into the spotlight. One day, no one knew who I was. The next, everyone knew my name. I had to learn how to block out the distractions. At the end of the day, I play golf because I love it. I’m not in it for the recognition. When I go out there, I just want to have fun. It’s an important reminder when things get chaotic.
Country music is awesome. I’ve always listened to a bunch of different types of music, but I never liked country … until this last year. My friends started playing it on the course. Now I’m hooked. Zach Bryan is my favorite artist, and I can’t get enough.
What it looks like to be a professional. Getting to play in some LPGA events last season was a thrill. Not only did I compete with players I look up to, but I also got to learn from them — from Nelly and Jess Korda, from Lydia Ko and Minjee Lee. Getting to play practice rounds with them and see how they carry themselves between the ropes was invaluable.
What majors are like. Before last season, I’d never played in an LPGA event, let alone a major. But the win at Augusta changed all that. Along with four starts on the LPGA Tour, I also played in three majors: the U.S. Women’s Open, the AIG Women’s Open and the Evian Championship. Everything in the majors is bigger. The grandstands. The scoreboards. The pressure. Majors are a different beast, but I loved every second of playing in them.
I love the Evian. Speaking of majors, my favorite was the Evian. Last summer was my first time abroad, and I loved the atmosphere over there. The course is gorgeous, and the hotel I stayed in was amazing. I’m pumped to go back to France someday.
Crème brûlée is delicious. One of the best perks of playing at Augusta is the food. I was fortunate enough to attend the Chairman’s Dinner, and the three-course meal they served was incredible. The highlight of it all, though? The crème brûlée they served for dessert. My first time eating it. Awesome.
Golf is a mental sport. Of course, I was aware of that before, but this year I really experienced it firsthand. I never used to struggle with nerves or confidence, but once I started playing on bigger stages, it became much harder to stay within myself.
How to drive. I finally got my license last October! I mostly drive to the golf course and the gym, but being able to meet up with my friends for dinner in downtown San Diego has been nice.
I want to go to college. In the past, that wasn’t always the case. Turning pro right after high school was always an option I considered. Then my twin brother and I went on a visit to Auburn. From the moment I stepped on campus, I was hooked. The environment. The facilities. The coaches. The college-town feel. I loved everything about it. Auburn has everything I would ever want in a college. It didn’t take long for me to decide it’s where I want to go to school.
What it’s like going viral. I was shocked at the reception I got on social media after winning ANWA. And I was even more surprised at the reaction my bucket hat got! When I checked my phone after the win, everyone was talking about “the girl with the bucket hat.” I didn’t think it would cause such a fuss, but now everyone considers the bucket hat my signature. The funny thing about it all? I didn’t even put much thought into my headwear choice before the final round at Augusta. I just thought the bucket hat looked good with my fit. One great round later and I became “the girl with the bucket hat.”