Hull's good performance is crucial to Europe's Solheim Cup chances. Photo: Getty Images/Angel Martinez
This is true. It's fair to say that Charlie Hull is ready for a fight. Not just against Team USA as Europe tries to win an unprecedented third consecutive Solheim Cup, but with all those male golfers on social media and beyond who truly believe they can crack it among the top female pros.
Hull usually ignores these arrogant ignoramuses. You know, those low handicap guys who can run it to 300-yard tees and think that's enough to compete with the likes of Hull and his peers. But last week, as she prepared for the Solheim Cup at Finca Cortesin (her sixth appearance at the competition despite being only 27), a post on X set her off.
“Let's figure this game out,” Hull responded to a three-handicap player who said he would make it all the way on the LPGA [Tour] and be a top-20 player. “I'll let him play the red tees while I play the white tees.”
Let's figure this game out 👀 I'll let him play with the red jerseys while I play with the white ones https://t.co/MAGfE4hprP
— Charlie Hull (@HullCharley ), September 11, 2023
Unsurprisingly, Hull heard no more on the matter. At least not from the gentleman himself. Otherwise, she was stunned by the reaction. “The other day I turned on my phone and it was amazing: thousands of messages and millions of views. I'd love to play, yes. But hopefully this can put an end to all the rumors that good putter golfers can actually compete with us. This is stupid and offensive.”
Hull have always played against men. There were no other girls at her childhood club in Kettering, so she had to compare her play to that of the boys. “It helped me,” she told Telegraph Sport. Even now, most of her social tours involve hanging out with guys. “I play with EuroPro Tour players and regularly beat them from the back court. I like this challenge.”
Hull won't name the male friends who felt the humiliation of her talent. A personal anecdote was told by a friend whose son is a promising hobbyist. “A friend of his, a very good player, recently played with Charlie,” he told me. “And when he came back, he told my son, 'Oh my God, she killed me.'”
Hull doesn't claim parity. She simply demands respect for her profession. “If anyone is wondering how good we are, let them come out and watch us,” she says. “This week here would be a good start. I'm not saying we're as good as the guys. They are bigger and stronger. But as women's golf continues to evolve, we become more skilled.
“It's the same as money. Should we pay the same money? In the end, probably not, because more people watch men's golf and get more sponsors. But the more progressive the game, the more viewers there will be and the more money we will get from it. So it's hard to justify. But it's kind of funny how they like to think they can beat us when they play with three of us. He should really come and see us.”
Laura Davies would have paid the entry fee to see Hull up close even if she wasn't vice-captain for this 18th Solheim Cup. “She’s a cash register,” the four-time major winner told Telegraph Sport. “Charlie is my favorite golfer to watch, male or female. She's been around forever. Each blow is an event in itself. She's such an exciting golfer. He doesn’t mess around and throws himself into every frame.”
Hull blushes when he learns of Davis' praise. “When I was a kid and I was hanging out with the two boys I played with, James wanted to be Seve [Ballesteros], Daniel wanted to be Phil Mickelson, and I pretended to be Laura Davis. So when she says things like that about me, it's incredibly cool.”
Davis, however, comes with a caveat. “It’s crazy that Charlie has only won twice on the LPGA Tour. But she's had a brilliant season this year and I think that could see her rise to the level she needs to be at. She's a wonderful girl and I'd love to see it.”
Hull are yet to win silverware in 2023. But as she rose to No. 8 in the world – her highest ranking to date – she finished second at both the US Women's Open and Women's Open, and also gained three more seconds , including in Cincinnati two weeks ago. “Everything was good and I'm happy, but I'm bored – it takes so much time and I wish they would do something about it, enforce the rules – and do stupid things.”
“It was like the American event earlier this year. I missed home so much. I had a 7.30pm flight booked on Sunday back to England and couldn't wait to get on it. But on Saturday I was three or four holes behind the leader or something like that, and I still had three holes left, and I was actually thinking to myself, “If I do all this, tomorrow I'll be in the last group and I might miss my flight.” I didn't throw or anything – I got on my feet for birdie on the 16th. But the last one I took was four shots. And I was annoyed with myself because even though I tried, it was in the back of my mind. And this shouldn't have happened. But that's who I am. I'm different, and I've embraced that.”
Her teammates agree. Hull were the only player to turn up in the wrong kit on Wednesday and it came as no surprise. “Charlie is a highlight every day for everyone in the team room,” Georgia Hall said. “She makes everyone laugh. She doesn't try, she just does.”
British colleague Georgia Hall says Hull is just as important off the track. like her in the photo. Photo: Getty Images/Angel Martinez
Hall, the 2018 Women's Open champion, has known Hull since she was 10 years old. They are close, and Hall sometimes sounds protective of her friend. Not in vain. In April, Hull was diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and took a month away from the game “to get his head straight.” It's a constant problem.
“I don't sleep much,” Hull says. “I wake up at 3am knowing I have to get up at 7am and I can’t do anything about it because my mind can’t turn off. It's hard. Although I actually slept well here. There's so much going on in Solheim and I'm with my teammates. I love it, but I can't believe it's been 10 years since I debuted.”
This match witnessed her growing up. From the 17-year-old who became Solheim's youngest player and who, after beating Paula Creamer 5&4 in singles in that Denver match, asked for the American's autograph. A fresh veteran with a winning record of almost 66 percent, second only to Annika Sorenstam among European women who have played at least four matches.
“I only look at the end result of each game. but I didn’t know my personal best was that good,” Hull says. “What can I say? I'm in my happy place.”