Georgia Oboh: Nigeria's first Ladies European Tour player

Georgia Oboh: Nigeria's first Ladies European Tour player

Posted: Jul 8, 2021 5:01 AM
Updated: Jul 8, 2021 5:01 AM

When Nigerian Georgia Oboh began playing golf, she struggled to identify role models in her sport, so she took inspiration from elsewhere -- in particular, from tennis greats Serena Williams and Naomi Osaka.

"To see someone who looked like me playing at such a top level and is still doing so now was quite inspirational," she told CNN Sport.

"For Naomi Osaka, she's part of the new generation of tennis stars and top-level athletes. I just really connect with her in the sense that we're trying to break through in all sports."

Just like Williams and Osaka, Oboh was a teenage prodigy.

Earning her place on the Ladies European Tour (LET) aged just 17, Oboh became the first Nigerian to qualify for the tour.

Now, she wants to qualify for an Olympic Games and become the best golfer in the world.

"Being No. 1 in the world is a long-term goal," she said. "I think in the short term, really I would be looking forward to potentially playing one or two majors even this year, improve my rankings and eventually play on the LPGA Tour."

READ: Nelly Korda 'glad to have joined' former pro tennis player dad as major champion after Women's PGA Championship victory

Route to the top

Georgia was born in the northern English city of Manchester, and her parents played a key role in her picking up golf at an early age.

Her father was introduced to the game by his grandmother. He then got his wife playing, and it wasn't long before six-year-old Georgia was wielding her first golf club.

She moved around, playing at different golf clubs and picking up new skills and experiences, which she believes has held her in good stead on her journey to becoming a professional.

"I ended up competing with girls and boys," the 20-year-old remembers.

"And eventually, I started to play the US Kids European Championship and then the US Kids World Championship, which I won at age 14, and then I played most of my junior golf, to be honest, in America.

"So I spent a lot of my summers and winters abroad. And I like to think I had a broad range of experience playing golf in different countries and in different weather."

Oboh's final appearance as an amateur golfer came at the age of 17 when she traveled to Buenos Aires in Argentina for the Youth Olympic Games in 2018, finishing tied for 22nd position.

After a successful junior career, in which she won numerous trophies, Oboh entered into qualifying school for the LET. After making it through the pre-qualifier, she had a nervy wait on the final day of the actual event to earn her professional card.

"On the last hole, I had a par putt that would have put me on the knife's edge," she remembers.

"I made that final putt, and then it was kind of a waiting game to see whether I was going to make the cut or not. So it went down to last shots of some of the other players but, at the end of the day, I was able to make the cut and get my card in the end."

Oboh turned professional in November 2018 and now hopes to appear in one or two majors this year as well as "improving my status and building my foundations up."

READ: The golfer who admits it's 'odd' to think she's a major winner

Growing the game

The LET describes itself as a "diverse and multicultural membership of 316 professional golfers representing 36 countries," but there have been calls by players on the tour such as Inci Mehmet for more programs to increase diversity in golf.

"My main concern was playing the best I could," said Oboh as she reflected on the issue of diversity in golf. "I've been to countries all over the world. But I don't try and let things like the color of my skin or my gender stop me from getting to where I need to or want to be."

While golf is part of the culture in many corners of the world, in Africa -- outside of South Africa -- it's still a sport that is new to the continent.

South Africa has produced successful talents such as major winners Ernie Els, Gary Player, Retief Goosen, Charl Schwartzel and Louis Oostuizen on the men's side and Sally Little on the women's side.

But due to a lack of "investment and development" at the junior levels of golf, other African countries have not been able to produce golfers of the same caliber.

Oboh had the choice of representing the United Kingdom but chose Nigeria instead due to its connection to her heritage. She says her home course is the Ikoyi Club 1938 in Lagos, the commercial capital of Nigeria, and has won several awards in the country. She even won her first pro tournament in her professional debut at the Cote D'Ivoire Open.

As the first Nigerian to play on the LET, Oboh is aware that her accomplishment of reaching the Tour is "an achievement."

But she is hoping that she can be an example for others, rather than a flash in the pan for Nigerian golf.

Visit CNN.com/sport for more news, features, and videos

"I don't want to be the last Nigerian. We do have some girls in the wings, getting ready in probably five to seven years," she said.

"So hopefully by then, it'll be a different story. But just to be able to achieve Tour membership is in itself an achievement. And I don't look at myself as the first to do this, the first to do that. Yes, I'll put it on the list of achievements, but I've set my goals to the next generation."

The-CNN-Wire
™ & © 2021 Cable News Network, Inc., a WarnerMedia Company. All rights reserved.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 515504

Reported Deaths: 10296
CountyCasesDeaths
Harrison34999558
DeSoto33360432
Hinds32743643
Jackson24906392
Rankin22565405
Lee16455245
Madison14954283
Jones14158248
Forrest13834260
Lauderdale12311323
Lowndes11357193
Lamar10693140
Pearl River9748244
Lafayette8868143
Hancock7849132
Washington7559169
Oktibbeha7229138
Monroe7068179
Pontotoc7033110
Warren6885178
Panola6791135
Neshoba6744210
Marshall6707142
Bolivar6468151
Union643598
Pike5942157
Alcorn5921107
Lincoln5540136
George510680
Prentiss508285
Tippah495683
Itawamba4884107
Scott478999
Tate4777117
Adams4776125
Leflore4749144
Copiah458195
Yazoo458092
Simpson4566117
Wayne443472
Covington434895
Sunflower4319106
Marion4295112
Coahoma4244110
Leake414191
Newton396182
Tishomingo386894
Grenada3789109
Stone366166
Jasper341266
Attala340490
Chickasaw318367
Winston318392
Clay312978
Clarke301695
Calhoun286850
Holmes272889
Smith270552
Yalobusha244947
Tallahatchie232353
Greene225149
Walthall222166
Lawrence220242
Perry214556
Amite210357
Webster206548
Noxubee188843
Montgomery182157
Carroll175441
Jefferson Davis174343
Tunica163539
Benton153139
Kemper145441
Choctaw137027
Claiborne134839
Humphreys132239
Franklin126530
Quitman107828
Wilkinson106139
Jefferson97134
Sharkey65321
Issaquena1957
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 847659

Reported Deaths: 16172
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson1163752005
Mobile743371381
Madison53434738
Shelby38413371
Baldwin38171589
Tuscaloosa36131643
Montgomery34571782
Lee25664264
Calhoun22622519
Morgan22527408
Etowah20059520
Marshall18821318
Houston17769426
St. Clair16946359
Limestone16192220
Cullman16140305
Elmore15948295
Lauderdale15055307
Talladega14244302
DeKalb13061271
Walker12138380
Blount10765193
Autauga10545157
Jackson10204195
Coffee9435192
Colbert9363210
Dale9038192
Tallapoosa7283202
Russell710165
Chilton7078170
Covington6967197
Escambia6962144
Franklin6364108
Chambers5795142
Marion5435130
Dallas5302210
Pike5128109
Clarke485686
Lawrence4845130
Winston4785110
Geneva4650136
Bibb435495
Barbour370180
Butler3444101
Marengo342793
Monroe338366
Randolph337767
Pickens334790
Fayette331485
Henry321066
Cherokee319964
Hale318889
Crenshaw261678
Washington256852
Cleburne255460
Lamar253555
Clay252069
Macon245767
Conecuh193562
Coosa185847
Wilcox178338
Lowndes178268
Bullock152745
Perry141840
Sumter139741
Greene130345
Choctaw94328
Out of AL00
Unassigned00
Tupelo
Cloudy
64° wxIcon
Hi: 67° Lo: 56°
Feels Like: 64°
Columbus
Cloudy
64° wxIcon
Hi: 68° Lo: 54°
Feels Like: 64°
Oxford
Cloudy
° wxIcon
Hi: 66° Lo: 59°
Feels Like: °
Starkville
Cloudy
64° wxIcon
Hi: 69° Lo: 53°
Feels Like: 64°
Rain coming in this weekend as a cold front moves through the area bringing cooler temperatures on into the start of next week.
WTVA Radar
WTVA Temperatures
WTVA Severe Weather