LPGA should keep an eye on Anna Rawson

The LPGA can breathe a sigh of relief now that Michelle Wie is officially a member of the tour. But Commissioner Carolyn Bivens and golf fans everywhere should be careful not to overlook another star-in-waiting who earned her card this weekend -- Australian Anna Rawson.

Rawson, who was a member of USC’s 2003 national championship team, made her first cut on the LPGA in the 2008 season, finishing T15 at the Corning Classic. She followed that with a T10 at the Bell Micro LPGA Classic. Now she’s finished well within the top 20 at LPGA Q-school to prove she belongs. This girl can play. Golf game, check.

Rawson_300 With her wide-brimmed hats and non-traditional golf clothes, Rawson also has one of the most unique styles on tour -- a style that will soon be available to the public in a line she designed with J. Lindeberg. Her biggest gripe is that most golf clothing doesn’t keep up with current fashion trends. “It's been the same for so long,” she said when I interviewed her in the spring.   Style, check.

But her appeal goes well beyond her game and fashion sense. She’s appeared on the Best Damn Sports Show, ESPN’s First Take and in countless magazines, from GQ to Vogue. (Not to mention, where she was named one of the sexiest golfers on tour.) Let’s be honest, the girl is hot. She has the ability to attract general sports fans to a tour that’s in dire need of attention.  Popularity, check.

When I met her, I didn’t know much about her, only that she was a model/actress/golfer. I wasn’t expecting much. But she’s smart, personable and very serious about her game. Rawson didn’t make a splash at a young age like Michelle Wie, but with a little more tournament experience she should make a real name for herself on tour. The LPGA would be wise to keep an eye on her – one win could be all she needs to break into the mainstream. Plus, she already speaks English. (Photo: David Walberg/SI) Interview: Anna RawsonPhotos: Anna Rawson

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by Kevin Cunningham