Dewi Weber is a prominent force in the golfing world with a dream of playing in the 2020 Olympics. She consistently places in the top-10 individual rankings, propelling the University of Miami to No. 15 in the country. But the 20-year-old Netherlands native has a larger goal in mind: redefining the sport itself.
“Playing golf is not about me winning tournaments or making money, but to try to change the face of the sport,” Weber said. “[I want] to make it more attractive to watch for younger people to pick up golf. There is a challenge to make a change.”
Her challenge starts with practice. As she walks onto the course, she enters her “zone” – a mindset familiar to many athletes. Weber becomes a full-speed train that cannot be stopped.
“I’m in control and no one else,” Weber said. “Every mistake you make is on you and every cool shot is on yourself because you made it. Everything depends on you, and that’s why I like the sport.”
The sophomore has both passion and respect for her sport, taking out her clubs with reverence. When taking her swings, Weber gets lost in her own world.
Weber’s graceful playing is a result of her long hours of practice, and even still, she refuses to be satisfied. In a sport where the tiniest inconsistency can send the ball flying in the wrong direction, the technique has to be approached with surgical precision.
Her attention to detail has led to an incredible résumé. Weber has had a single-day score of 72 or under 13 times this season. She tied for second place in last year’s NCAA Championship with a four-round total of 280 (-8).
Coach Patty Rizzo has marveled at Weber’s astounding ability since the beginning of her collegiate career. When Rizzo recruited her, she saw someone who could make an immediate impact before even watching a single backswing.
“We saw her record with the world amateur golf-rankings and saw that she wasn’t recruited yet, and we were wondering why,” Rizzo said. “So we FaceTimed her and had an hour conversation, and you could tell she was very intellectual, very composed. She had it together.”
Weber works tirelessly off of the golf course as well. She is majoring in advertising and motion pictures and minoring in marketing and musical theater. According to Alex Gallin, a junior in her musical theater class, she has an amazing the voice.
“We were paired up together for Sweeney Todd, and I first wasn’t sure what to expect from her, but boy can she sing,” Gallin said. “She can hit tenor notes, and this was before I knew she was quite the golfer. She is very talented.”
Weber’s attention to detail separates her from the rest. Rizzo praises her knowledge and love of fitness and nutrition.
“She is extremely mature; she is 21 going on 35,” Rizzo said. “She’s the only one on the team I can talk politics with. She follows Trump and Clinton, and I wonder how this girl keeps up with everything – it isn’t even her country. She will succeed in whatever she chooses to do.”
Weber wants to change the faces of golf from “elitist, white old-men” to a sport that acknowledges equal rights. Golf has been considered one of the worst culprits of gender-pay disparity, where the total prize money collected in one year by a man is usually 10 times that of a woman.
Even her dream of playing golf in the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo could be difficult because of male favoritism. The prestigious, private golf club Kasumigaseki has a policy that hinders female members. However, Weber is undeterred and looks forward to facing the challenge.
“I don’t understand why people still think that way, but then again, I would see it more as a challenge, not necessarily like, ‘oh that is happening, so I won’t go,’” Weber said. “No, I would see it as, ‘oh it’s happening, what can we do about it?’ I wouldn’t leave it or go somewhere else. That’s very weak. There is a challenge to make a change, to join a movement to tackle this.”