Stanford graduate Sally Watson finished 23rd in the Order of Merit and runner-up as Rookie of the Year in her first season on the Ladies European Tour. We believe that Sally will be one of the future superstars of women’s golf and … she’s a proud Scot!
We caught up with Sally while she was playing in China.
Sally, you are from the home of golf and a family of keen golfers. Tell us how you got started?
I started playing golf at the age of 4 in the little village of Elie, Scotland where my family spent their summers. I have an older sister by two and a half years (Rebecca) who had already started playing and as a little girl, I didn’t understand why I couldn’t start too …whatever she was doing I wanted to do too so my parents cut down a 7 iron to fit and off I went.
You were an early starter. When did you realize that you wanted to play tournament golf?
I am a very competitive person and so I think once my game got to a decent level my dad thought that I might enjoy playing in a tournament. He entered me in to the Scottish Schools Championship and I finished in the top 10, I played a few more events that summer which resulted in me being selected to play for Scotland.
I think after getting my first international start the bug of competitive golf caught on and the dream of playing professional one day really began.
Like Tiger Woods & Michelle Wie, you went to Stanford University. What was your experience there like?
My experience at Stanford was truly incredible. I think one of the great things about college, and Stanford for me, was all of the great people that I met-both fellow students and alumni or donors. As a student-athlete at Stanford you are definitely pushed to your limits some times but it is a great learning lesson in time and stress management.
I also loved, and learned a lot from, my experience of playing on a team for 4 years and I was very lucky to have great teammates, many of whom are now my best friends.
What aspects of playing professional golf have surprised you?
I am not sure that anything I have learned about playing pro golf has necessarily surprised me, but I have definitely learned a lot about myself as a person and as a golfer.
I think the biggest lesson for me last year was figuring out how I perform best, how I prepare best, and how I practice best. As an amateur and collegiate golfer, I was practicing and preparing the way others thought I should, and, although other people’s input is very valuable, as a player I believe you have to learn what works best for you, because in golf everyone is different.
Who has had the biggest impact on your game?
My parents have by far had the biggest impact on my golf game. Although I did have favorite players on tour who inspired me to work hard so that I could make my dreams of playing professional golf a reality, no-one inspired me more than my parents and no two people sacrificed as much as they did. For all of that I know that I am an incredibly lucky daughter and I am extremely grateful!
Its early days for you but what do you see as the highlights of your career so far?
Finishing second at the Ladies European Tour School is definitely at the top of my highlights so far. The feeling you have when you realize that your dreams are starting to become a reality is truly incredible and very emotional.
The other experience at the top of my professional career highlights so far has to be my third place finish at my home event last year (The Aberdeen Asset Management Ladies Scottish Open). Having such a strong performance in front of friends and family, as well as having my dad on the bag, was a lot of fun.
One last question. What are your goals for 2015 and where would you like to be in golf in 3-5 years.
My two main goals for 2015 are to get a win on the Ladies European Tour and to earn my LPGA card for 2016. In 3-5 years I would love to be competing at the very top of the women’s game and giving myself opportunities on Sunday at our 5 major championships.
I believe that if I continue to work hard and keep learning, I will give myself a great chance at accomplishing both my short term and long term goals.
Thank you so much for your time Sally. We love the way you play and your positive attitude. You are an excellent golf ambassador for Scotland, Stanford and your family.