Over the past few months we have argued the merits of private vs public courses, the morality of using the long putter and whether or not Tiger Woods can rebound from his “Thanksgiving Feast”?
Now we enter shark-invested waters; should women be allowed to participate in men’s tournaments?
I assume that since Mr. Gorman is adamantly opposed to women being allowed to compete with the guys he either has a very comfortable couch in his home or Mrs. Gorman does not delve this deeply into “NEGM”.
This could very well be our last debate. When this issue hits the stands Gorman could very well have to enter the witness protection plan or be added to the endangered species list, right behind the Macedonian Dodo. It may not be alphabetically correct but it qualifies in every other sense.
Let’s clarify a point right now; Most women don’t want to play with men any more than we might want them sharing our foursome. We love to have the adorable 18-year old cart girl motor around every couple of holes, allowing us to fulfill two basic male requirements, one of which includes overpriced beer (as for the second, I’ll leave that to your individual imaginations).
Men and women have this emotional DMZ ingrained into their respective DNAs and for the most part it extends to the first tee.
This, however, should not make it impossible for the two sides to come together when golf clubs are involved.
The debate is whether or not women should be allowed to play in men’s tournaments? But there’s NO SUCH ANIMAL!
I’ve yet to see any competition on the golf course officially listed as a “men’s” event, at any level, be it the local club to the PGA Tour.
It may be assumed, but it is not written in any rule book.
Now the opposite is true of men playing in women’s events. LPGA signifies “Ladies” professional golf tour. Its bi laws prohibit men from participating. There is no such regulation on the PGA Tour. Tim Finchem’s organization does not limit competitors based on their gender, but rather their ability or lack thereof.
On the amateur side of things there are club championships at most golf clubs. It is generally understood that these are for the men, but no gender requirement is attached. It’s why most clubs also have a ladies club championship that is exclusive. There is also the U.S. Amateur, open to anyone whose handicap is low enough to allow them to enter. It does not forbid women from participating, just hackers such as myself and my worthy, if somewhat backwards, colleague.
If a woman so desires and can attempt to qualify for a PGA Tour event. If she shoots a low enough score she can play, simple.
Annika Soranstam was invited to compete in the PGA Tour’s Colonial event a few years back and did very nicely. She just missed the cut playing from the same tees as everyone else in the field. It was a publicity gimmick, but so what?
Nobody was hurt, nobody died and no male professional was denied a spot in the field because Annika was playing.
Michelle Wie has tried, in the past, to qualify for the U.S. Open (As I said earlier it’s called ‘open’ from a reason). She didn’t make it.
This exclusionary, Neanderthal kind of thinking certainly extends far beyond the out-of-bounds stakes.
It has been holding society back for years.
Remember this riddle; “A father and his son, who are injured in a car accident, are rushed to two different hospitals. The boy needs an operation, but the doctor says “I can’t operate on this boy, he’s my son”.
It befuddled the majority of men because we were not mentally able to accept women as doctors.
For years we’ve lived in our little chauvinistic cocoons, but fortunately the caterpillar thought processes have been eaten away and replaced by beautiful butterflies.
And if they want to play in men’s tournaments, and can qualify from the men’s tees, then God bless them, they are more than welcome. I’ll even carry their bag.
(Tim Geary is a Rhode Island based freelance golf writer with over 35 years of experience. He has no need for a couch, just a good swing coach)