I think a lot of the protesting is actually the protest of emasculation of men since the '70’s. (Think Martha Burke). What the hell is wrong with men having something of their own? Men’s country clubs exist, and now women want to play them just because they can’t. But looking deeper, as in Augusta National, women ARE allowed to play the course, junst not to have membership (they play as guests of a member.
Ladies, now hear this! You, too, can have a private club for women only! Isn’t that liberating?!? Can you imagine the vitriol of NOW if there was a female-only golf club that a man wanted to join? shudder
Yes. If they want to allow two amateurs, three women, and three orangutans* to play, that’s their perogative. Sponsor’s exemptions are good because they make the sponsors happy. Sponsors happy = $ = successful tour.
Probably not. I think on a great day Annika could shoot under par from the back tees. However, she will be under major championship pressure. I doubt the situation will be conducive to having a great day. But, stranger things have happened.
OFFICIAL PREDICTION (please, no wagering): 74 - 72, missing the cut.
*Hmmmm…? Lousy short games, I’m guessing. Oy, the liability.
I hope she falls flat on her face, plays terribly, and misses the cut, so we can end this chapter in sports history. This is gimmicky, and designed only to draw attention to the sponsor of the tournament, and to Annika herself.
There are always going to be a few women here and there about whom one might say “they could hang with the guys.” Heck, Lisa Leslie might get tore up on defense in the NBA, but she could shoot if she was matched up against a PG without much height, so that pretty much qualifies her to play for the Mavericks But is the occasional woman who can hang with the men in a physical sport worth degrading the separation between men’s and women’s sports?
Heck, in many ways women’s sports are like a totally different sport. Women’s basketball is played very differently than men’s, more about ball-handling, movement, and setting up an open shot or a clear lane, whereas the men’s game has players who throw their weight around under the post (although some schools do have women who can play the post well.) Same for tennis, the absense of big serves makes for alot more baseline play. Women’s tennis and basketball are entirely independent sports in the way they’re played, and they have their own set of fans, and have developed their image on their own. The LPGA should be concerned with selling itself as a sport of it’s own, not as just the equivalent of a junior league subordinate to the men from which a few women might hope to “graduate.” They’re different games, keep them separate.
If they want to invite her, that’s fine. It might be gimmicky, but she’s repeatedly said she wants the challenge and she doesn’t appear to be a showboat.
The unfortunate thing is that people are trying to make this into some sort of societal statement. If Annika kicks ass and does well it shows only that Annika is a good golfer who can hang with men – nothing more and nothing less. If she falls flat on her face and misses the cut after shooting rounds of 98 it shows she can choke like anybody else.
I don’t really buy the argument that “women have their tour so let the men have theirs.” The reason there is an LPGA is that most women can’t play at the level of men. That’s why the LPGA restricts entry to women. They need to restrict it so that men don’t enter and destroy the competition, not simply because of an arbitrary choice to have separate men’s and women’s tours.
The PGA is the highest level of golf and I think you should give anybody a shot to compete at the highest level.
To prove that she is a fantastic golfer? Not necessary. Already proven.
To show that on any given day she can compete on an even basis with, and come out ahead of some men? Don’t doubt it for a second. Why would anyone?
If Annika were truly interested in “testing herself against the best” as RTF and John suggest, why doesn’t she give up her LPGA card and go to Q school? Or try to qualify for the US Open? Why did she need to carefully vett the men’s courses to find one where she thinks she has the best chance?
The sponsors invited her for one reason only - to get publicity for their event. Any men’s event (non-major) would have welcomed her for the same reason. And the pub is great for golf as a whole. Heck, they are getting an extra hour of TV coverage on Saturday, whether or not she makes the cut.
And for her - what is the risk? She shows that she couldn’t make as good a living on the men’s tour as she does on the women’s?
Gues what? The seniors can’t compete with the young guys either. That doesn’t take anything away from them and their accomplishments. Merely states a fact.
Annika playing at the Colonial has NOTHING to do with competition, and EVERYTHING to do with promotion. Both her own, the tournament’s, and the sport’s.
As long as I’m playing around on the PGA stats page. She’d be 12th on the PGA tour in Driving Accuracy (.738). Women golfers don’t drive as long as men, but Annika is less than great at hitting fairways for a women’s golfer (39th on the LPGA).
She’s a bad putter (better than I am, but bad for the tour). On the LPGA, she comes in 64th. On the PGA tour (assuming the LPGA and PGA gather stats the same way, I had to get LPGA stats from www.lpga.com), she’d be 179th (by the way, that’s just shy of 30 putt per round).
After reviewing the stats, she won’t make the cut, but it will be putting that sinks her - not driving distance.
There is a market for stats geeks in baseball - anyone know if their is a Rob Neyer equivalent for golf?
Just FTR, there is a women-only golf club that men aren’t allowed to join: the Toronto Ladies Golf Club. Just as at Augusta, men can only play as guests of members. When the Augusta controversy was heating up, Rick Reilly wrote in Sports Illustrated about his experience playing as a guest there.
[Complete hijack, but since Augusta was mentioned]
I think Augusta should be able to do what it wants with its membership. I think it would be nice if they had women members, but I’m not a member, so I don’t get a vote. What bugs me is the courses that allow “families” to join, but only give tee times to women during the middle of the day in the middle of the week. “Sorry, you can’t play on Saturday, you are missing a Y chromosome.” Now, it wouldn’t bug me (with my “too big to measure” handicap) if more courses said “if you want to play on Saturday or Sunday (or at Pebble Beach, at all), you need a current handicap card with a handicap under 18 (or whatever).” Popular difficult courses SHOULD do this. Than I’d spend less time listening to my father complain.
I didn’t look up the stats on Annika’s short game (sand saves, scarmbling), but I’m pretty sure they’re not that great. And the courses women play are NOT the same levell of dificulty (pin placement, green speeds and contours, etc.).
Also, everyone, remember that while Annika did cherry pick a bit to end up at the Colonial, she had 13 events on the LPGA tour that she basically HAD to play (to defend her wins from last year), so there wasn’t a whole heck of a lot of choices.
It would be nice to see her in Q school this year if she’s serious about bumping her game up a notch. On the other hand, all she has to do is win next week, and Q school will be moot…
Dangerosa - one thing complicating your comparisons between PGA and LPGA based on stats, is the extent to which the courses are set up differently. I know the LPGA plays shorter courses. But I do not know how narrow the LPGA fairways are. How fast their greens, how deep the rough, how deep the bunkers, …
Not a perfect comparison, but I played Olympia Fields the year before last when they had already started making changes for this year’s US Open. Admittedly, the average men’s course is not set up like an Open course. But they were making changes that had absolutely no impact on my game. For example, they were narrowing the fairways way up at places that I - a longer than average hitting hacker - would never dream of driving the ball.
My understanding was that the women’s courses were set up similar to the seniors’. But I may be way off base, since I don’t really follow either of those tours.
Does anyone know of an instance where the LPGA played at a course where the PGA did? I wonder whether the courses were set up any differently - other than the tee placement.
The LPGA plays the courses shorter, I don’t know that they play shorter courses. (The PGA on the other hand, plays the courses longer, they may not play longer courses - they’ve been known to make long holes longer by moving the back tees back even farther.) But you are right, they are two different course populations, and probably have some variety in set up.
I don’t think she’s interested in bumping her game up a notch. Would you rather be the top golfer in your league, or a middling or not-so-good golfer in a better league (especially a league where you were the only one of your kind and a lot of people really didn’t like having your kind there)? She’s just seeing if she “can” compete with very little risk. She’s getting to live the dream of every non-PGA golfer out there. If you were a damn good golfer, and had the opportunity for a sponsors exemption to play in a tour event, wouldn’t you take it? Or would you quit your job and do it the “right” way by going to Q school? I’d take the exemption - and then if I did well, I might pack it all in and consider Q school. (Yeah, in my dreams, I count the number of pars in a year on one hand).
They also turn some par 5s into par 4s for the PGA. And I’d like to see an LPGA event that has a 230 yrd par 3.
Like I said earlier, though, there are some up and coming girls (they’re not women yet) who might be better at challenging the men. Not at a top level, but possibly to get in the ranks of the thrid tier players. What might be more interesting is if some of these future-women players try to go the way of the Nationwide (formerly Buy.com) tour. I’m not sure if they have any rules about prohibiting women players, but I doubt it. From a purely financial standpoint, though, the best women golfers would be giving up a lot of $$ to try to compete on a men’s tour.
Because she’s testing herself, not making a full-scale effort to join the PGA Tour. The best aren’t in Q school. And on the other end of things, she doesn’t want to get embarrassed either. She’s the best on the women’s tour and I can’t see the harm in seeing what happens this week. Of course, I’m not a golf fan. I’d be thrilled if she won, mostly because I think complaints like Vijay Singh’s have this ring of “I’m pretending to be offended by the principle when I’m really just afraid I’ll look bad” to them.
You’ve also got to remember the “gentelmanly” aspect of golf. What other sport do you call fouls on yourself? I think Vijay is coming from the angle of: you don’t horn your way in. But it’s more than a bit false, because anyone who accepts sponsors’ money has given up the right to demand the sport to be “pure”.
Vijay, and the other guys of his caliber" have nothing to fear from Annika. Abd she’ll have 20 people cheering for her in the galleries for every 1 person booing.