Picture an all-you-can-eat and all-you-can-drink establishment in Turkey. Laura Davies, one of the all-time greats in women’s golf, walks in. So does Geoff Artis, the husband of aspiring LPGA Tour player Rebecca (nicknamed “Floody”). For those that travel the Symetra Tour regularly – players, caddies, staff members – Geoff is known for his sense humor and unfiltered wise cracks.
“Floody (Rebecca) didn’t come out that night, but Johnny (Davies’ caddy, Johnny Scott) and I had such a good time with Geoff that night – maybe one too many Vodka’s,” said Davies with a chuckle during an interview on the range at French Lick Resort. “Geoff wasn’t feeling well the next day so we joked around with Floody that we’ve ruined her husband.”
Geoff and Rebecca were already good friends with Trish Johnson, the defending champion at the Pete Dye Course, so it was a natural friendship with Davies.
While traveling the Ladies European Tour circuit, Geoff and Rebecca shared a house one time with Laura and they have been friends – our mates - ever since.
This week, Geoff is toting the bag for Rebecca in the Donald Ross Centennial Classic while Laura is hoping to win the inaugural Senior LPGA Championship.
The friendship has grown over the years. Now, the Artis’ stay at Laura’s house when they are stopping over in the UK to play the LET and Laura stays with the Artis’ when she comes over to play the ALPG in the early part of the year.
It’s a relationship based on humor and fun-loving jabs at each other. The Artis’ now call Davies “mom” to poke fun at her age and an encounter they had with a fan. Geoff and Laura were at an event and a fan recognized the Dame. The fan, who was looking for a photo and autograph, asked Geoff if that was his mom.
“She is just really a good friend now, we have so many things in common,” said Rebecca. “We just have a good crack, good banner, we have the whole English versus Australian rivalry. She’s become more than an acquaintance, a close friend.”
As much as they are similar, they also are quite different. Rebecca is a grinder on the range while Laura smashes a few 6-irons and is ready to roll – even after 30 years as a professional.
“We go practicing sometimes, but she is always there a lot longer than I am,” said Davies. “We’re always rooting for each other and saying good luck on the range. Floody is confident, she doesn’t need too much advice for me. She just needs to hole a few more putts.”
They are especially on different ends of the spectrum when it comes to animals. The Artis’ have working dogs while Davies has a pet dog.
“The way they talk about animals, I think they are ruthless people in the world,” said Davies with a good-natured laugh. “If our dog gets injured, we take him to the vet and they might see it a bit different. We joke about that all the time. We say she doesn’t have a heart.”
It’s a story about the sport of golf linking two women – of different generations – and forming a lifetime bond. Thanks to the French Lick Resort, they get to spend a rare few days together in the United States.