Teen Golf Star Anna Davis Continues Her Rise At The Pan Am Games
by Bob Reinert
When Anna Davis and her twin brother Billy were quite young, their dad wanted to keep the kids occupied, so he took them to the golf course with him.
“It was fun whacking golf balls whenever we could,” Anna Davis recalled. “It was fun having my brother there all the time, too. You always just had your best friend playing with you.”
She also remembered times when things got a little testy between the siblings on the fairways.
“If we went and played golf with each other, it always ended up in one of us yelling at the other or somebody crying because we were just that competitive,” Davis said. “We wanted to beat each other so bad.”
Eventually, the Davis twins stopped trying to beat each other and turned their competitive fires outward. As a result, both became outstanding young golfers on the threshold of stardom at age 17. For Anna Davis, the next step in her journey comes Nov. 2-5 when she’s set to compete at the Pan American Games Santiago 2023 at Prince of Wales Country Club in La Reina, Chile.
The Pan Am Games will be only the latest of several big competitions for the teenager. Just last weekend, she represented the U.S. in the World Amateur Team Championships in the United Arab Emirates. A month before that, she competed for the U.S. at the Junior Solheim Cup in Spain and with Billy at the Junior Ryder Cup in Italy.
“Not very many teenagers get to do that,” she said in an interview prior to competing at the WATC. “It’s an honor for anybody to represent their country. It’s very special, and it’s a lot different than playing for yourself in all the other events, especially because golf is so individual.
“Being able to play for somebody other than yourself and playing with a team and playing for your country and honoring your country is pretty cool.”
The lefthander from Spring Valley, California, burst onto the scene when she won the 2022 Augusta National Women’s Amateur as a 16-year-old. Then a high school sophomore, she became the youngest champion in the event’s three-year history. Now, she’s on everyone’s radar.
“I’d never really had the spotlight until I won that tournament,” Davis said. “And now I’m kind of this well-known name in amateur golf.
“I think right after that, I definitely felt the pressure to do well. I played a few events, and I was just so nervous because everybody knew who I was.”
That nervousness subsided, and Davis said she has become more accustomed to all the attention.
“You can only go out there and do as best you can, and whatever score you shoot, it doesn’t matter,” she said. “I think now I don’t let it get to me as much as I did.
“In any sport, it’s really important to have confidence. I think it’s a huge part of the game.”
Now a high school senior, Davis has managed to achieve balance in her young life. In particular, taking online school helps her stay on track while traveling and competing around the world.
“I love traveling and getting to see other places,” she said. “I think it’s really cool to represent your country when you’re not in America. It’s a blessing to be able to have these different experiences at my age.”
Next up for the Davis twins is college golf, as both have committed to attend and play at Auburn University next year. Eventually, Anna Davis said she hopes to wear the red, white and blue again for Team USA at an Olympic Games.
“I think that’s the biggest stage that you can represent the U.S.,” said Davis, “and it’s kind of a once-in-a-lifetime thing, and not very many people get to do that.”
In the meantime, though, she’s enjoying traveling the world, playing high-level golf and, occasionally, still razzing her brother.
“I caddied for him the other day in a Monday qualifier for the PGA Tour, and he made it, which is pretty cool,” said Anna, who told Billy that he wouldn’t have qualified without her. “We’ll tease each other, but we don’t mean it. We have good fun, and we’re pretty close. Now I think we enjoy having each other’s company on the golf course.”