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Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Australia's Anna Rawson took a break from her hectic schedule to chat with about her first year on the LPGA Tour, her life outside of golf, and why she thinks more women should play the game.

How has playing on the LPGA Tour been different from your experiences on the Ladies European Tour?
It's a lot more competitive here. The girls are really good. It's a lot more serious — the environment. There's a lot more money involved. In Europe, a lot of people are having a good time.

Do you have a preference?
I haven't played enough up here to be able to tell. I mean I'll see. It's hard when you've been on a tour for two years and you have friends. I'm a bit biased right now. I've got to give it some more time.

Are there any players on tour that you're friends with?
No. [Laughter]

Because you're only on conditional status with the LPGA, have you felt accepted by the Tour?
Really accepted. Everyone is so lovely. The organization is great. I mean they're really, all the people are so helpful. They're right behind you. They want to help you with whatever they can. I'm not playing every week, so I don't really know people. That's what's hard.

How would you describe your fashion style on the golf course?
My style is constantly changing. I just kind of try and find looks that I would wear regularly and coordinate them into golf clothing. I actually helped J. Lindeberg design their next line.

Was that your first time designing?

What was that like?
Fun. I loved doing it. Get to read fashion magazines all day and watch catwalk shows and just try to figure out, Oh! We could put that on a golf skirt, or, that would look good. Just trying to keep with current trends. Golf clothing doesn't really do that. It's been the same for so long.

How do you balance that modeling, designing side with your golf?
You just do it at night. Or on off days. You know, I do shoots in the afternoon, I golf in the morning. There's always time. But I'm very busy. I'm exhausted right now, I've done so much since I've been in New York.

Do you have a boyfriend?
No. Single.

Do you find time to date with your schedule?
There's always time. [Laughter] But it's hard because I'm gone all the time. So to have a relationship is very difficult. But, yeah, you can make it work if you want to.

Do you ever date people outside of the golf/modeling word? Would you ever date a regular guy?
That's all I date. I don't date golfers. I don't date athletes or actors. That's my rule.

Because they're very ... selfish. Typically. Well, not selfish, but they have demanding jobs, and I have demanding job, so it's difficult to do that.

So regular guys have a chance?
Totally. I don't discriminate. Against anyone.

What do you do when you're not golfing or modeling?
Usually just spend time with friends because I'm always by myself all day. We just go out and eat or shop. Love to shop.

What's something people don't know about you?
I'm a total nerd?

In what way?
I love to study. I loved academics and college — I had a really high GPA. I just enjoyed studying everything. I was a communication major. I actually really like philosophy and debating. I'm really argumentative. I should have been a lawyer or politician.

So previous to USC, you never had a golf coach?
Not even while I was at USC!

So how did you learn to play?
I just went to clinics, the South Australia Junior Golf Foundation had like clinics every now and again, so I'd get some kind of coaching, but I never stuck with one coach and really honed my skills. I was just kind of figuring it out. I'd get lessons from my friends that were good golfers. Occasionally, I'd go to a pro if something was really bad. But I was just kind of self-taught. Kind of understood it myself

How did you get into golf?
My father. We have a golf course on the end of our street in Adelaide. Everyone is a member, and your membership comes up at 13. So you join and you play, basically, you don't have a choice.

What has been your greatest achievement in golf so far?
Probably winning the national championship with USC. I mean that was huge. That's what got me to play pro golf. I realized if I worked hard I could probably do it. It was so fun. We did TV interviews every day and we were winning and it felt so good — I just couldn't describe the feeling.

But up to that point you weren't sure you were going to go pro?
No, I was probably definitely not. I had already met someone and I was going to go work for her company, and I was kind of set in what I was doing already. So it kind of threw a curveball. But I met a guy at the time who was really encouraging as well. It's weird how the people in your life influence you and things happen, and then it's like, okay, four years later here I am on the LPGA Tour, so it's kind of funny.

Is there a specific tournament you'd really love to win?
All the same, I mean, it'd be great to win an Australian Open, you know your home tournament. But any one — I don't care — I just want to win any of them. I'm going to Korea in a couple of weeks. And it's the same week as the U.S. Open qualifying tournament. But everyone is like, "It's the US Open!" But to me, I've never been to Korea and I really want to go. So I can play the U.S. Open another year. To me it doesn't matter. Any tournament is a great tournament to win. It's difficult to win anywhere, Europe or here or Korea.

So I was reading your blog on Can you tell me about when you met Greg Norman?
[Laughter] I totally look up to the guy. He's such an icon and great Australian athlete. He's my favorite guy and I love what he's done off the golf course — all his businesses. He's just very clever and smart. And of course he was No. 1. Nobody's done it better than him. And I just thought that for some reason that when I met him he would take me under his wing and I would be his prodigy or we'd just have a connection. And it so wasn't. We met at a pro-am. And I don't know — he just saw me as either one of the other amateurs. Or maybe just a pretty girl. I really don't know. It's sort of naive of me to think [it would be different] because he's such a super star, he's so big and why would he ever help someone like me? It doesn't really make sense.

You also talk a lot about growing the game and working with younger girls. Why is that important to you?
Golf's given me so much, I've been so lucky to get involved with it, and it's such a great game for women. You can chit chat all day and that's all women love to do. You get to walk, so it's good exercise. It's a great way to meet men. I mean there's just so many great things about it, that I think that more women should get involved and play. It shouldn't be such a boys sport.

Is there anyone on Tour you look up to?
I look up to a lot of girls' golf games, definitely, someone like Lorena [Ochoa], her record and Annika [Sorenstam] and Karrie Webb. I definitely really admire their golf games. Anyone who's been up in the top 10. I think that it's really difficult to stay there and play well constantly.

Are there any athletes outside of the golf world that you look up to?
I loved Lance Armstrong's book - It's All About the Bike-it's just incredible. Anyone who's really made leaps and bounds in their sports. Especially in women's sports. What the Williams sisters did in tennis. Or Anna Kournikova or people like that, that have really just paved the way and made it so much bigger than what it ever was before.

Is that something you aspire to do?
Yeah, totally. I'd love to be the reason that young women start playing golf. I want to be like Annika. I'd love to be a role model. Definitely that's what I'd love to do. I mean it's hard, it's a sacrifice. But hopefully I can just keep improving and get there.

Do you see yourself playing golf for a long time?
I don't know. I constantly ask myself that. On a week like this when I'm really tired and I've done nothing, I sometimes think, "Wow, how long can I do this for?" As long as I keep on improving, and enjoying it and keep getting better, I'll play for as long as I can. As long as I can stay competitive. Like Annika was saying, for her, she only wants to play when she's giving it as much as she can give it. That's the same as me. I don't want to just go through the motions when I play. I want to give 100 percent.

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