Anna Davis is History For All of Us
Let’s give the new ANWA champ and those before her their rightful due
By Jordan Perez
April 2, 2022
AUGUSTA, GA — I didn’t really expect to write an Anna Davis thinkpiece, if we’re being real.
I had the slightest feeling that Davis would find herself in contention after she posted 70 on an awfully difficult Champions Retreat course on Wednesday. But I was certain watching Latanna Stone birdie No. 16 at Augusta National that the championship was hers for the taking. To watch it all implode two holes later was not on my ANWA bingo card. But Davis awaiting her incredible fate in the clubhouse was zero surprise to me.
Davis is short, to the point, but profound in every decision she makes — decisively ball-striking her way to victory all week. While her peers donned caps and skirts, Anna worked her way through Augusta National sporting a bucket hat and pigtails, going against the grain in more ways than one.
Davis was nowhere near the favorite heading into this week with a WAGR ranking of 100. She punched her ticket to ANWA via her Junior PGA Championship victory last July, three months after she found out the tournament existed. “It was when Rose [Zhang] was in the lead,” Davis says. “I had a friend back home who was playing it, so I heard a lot about it from her and so it made me very excited to try and compete in this event.”
In a staunch contrast to the many Masters-related questions directed at her all week, Davis candidly shut down a prompt for her favorite memory: “I don’t think I have one, to be honest,” she said. “I’ve never really watched the Masters on TV, which is a little weird.”
Sacrilegious? No. In fact, it’s far more empowering that Davis took inspiration from a peer in the field rather than an old dude from her childhood. After three years of the ANWA, it’s time to put a stop to the microaggressive comments to these women. Each playing of the Augusta National Women’s Amateur creates more history: Memorable highs and lows and iconic shots, with these young women facing the shot values that Alister MacKenzie and Bobby Jones intended. Kupcho and Fassi dealing blows left and right in 2019 was Oscar-worthy. Kajitani’s emergence in 2021 from a six-way tie all the way to handily winning a sudden-death playoff was a treat.
This year, simply, there was no one who was more in command than Davis, even though the entire experience was unfamiliar. “I don’t know a lot of the girls here,” Davis said. “So I am kind of feeling like an underdog.”
She claimed the sneak peek at the course during the early-week Chairman’s Dinner was a good incentive to make cut, but maintained that her goal was simply to have fun. A strong first round put her among the leaders but some struggles during the second round dropped Davis to a tie for sixth, two shots off the lead. Her practice round at Augusta National helped convince Davis she was ready for the big stage. “It sets up perfectly for my game,” she said, “so I’m excited to see what happens tomorrow.”
She was 100 percent right. Davis made only one bogey during her superb 69, taking Augusta National apart with unerring tee shots and precise putts. Her effortless California cool lit up Golf Twitter and left many pondering Anna’s adolescent norms. She insisted she wasn’t any different from the stereotypical teenager, aside from the fact that she sometimes travels alone to junior events. No one was there to hold her hand to as she took on Augusta, either. Despite a friend on the bag and a supportive family behind the ropes, Davis charted her own course, adding a rich chapter to the Augusta National Women Amateur and making fresh history for the rest of us. The time has come to stop comparing the ANWA competitors to the men. In the future, we’ll compare them to Anna Davis.