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In the bunker

One of Australia’s greatest golfers, Greg Norman, is among a number of male golfers who want to limit, if not resist completely, the number of women golfers playing men in top-class tournaments.

Straight off, before the equal opportunities industry kicks into gear, we should remember that however dumb and sexist many golfers are said to be (or in some cases, actually are), golf clubs are, by and large, private associations. If women are annoyed at missing out on playing golf against the best, then by all means let golf clubs be opened which cater for both sexes, but we should also resist all attempts to ban the right of clubs, however fuddy-duddy, to set their own rules.

Also, a point for Norman and his ilk to recall is this – the handicapping system. So long as the golf handicap of a man is treating equally – on a par (heh) with that of a woman, then why are the guys getting upset? After all, if you have to be a scratch golfer to make the cut at the Masters, say, then if women really aren’t good enough to play, then the handicapping system in play will expose this rather quickly.

In truth, I suspect that Norman and his fellows probably fear that women are getting better at the game and will give them a serious run for their money.

But like I said, this issue is strictly for the clubs, the members, and the paying customer. Message to government – stay out of it.

Right, time I went to the driving range.

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7 comments to In the bunker

  • toolkien

    I don’t know exactly what The Shark’s argument is but my take is simply this – if women are allowed to play on the PGA men should be allowed to play on the LPGA (assuming there is some level of force involved).

    This isn’t necessarily some tit for tat tantrum but this – if women should be allowed to play on the PGA ‘if they are good enough’ as the argument, then the same should go the other way. But we know what would happen. Perhaps 2-3 women would play consistently good enough to hang with the PGA elite while the LPGA would be swarmed over with men. If there is a need for a barrier in one direction it should be the same barrier working in the other. There is a lot of money to be had, on both the PGA and LPGA, and for a man to lose a slot through fair competition (including women) to make a living on the PGA it is insult to injury to say they are also barred from playing on the LPGA. Of course the gov’t should stay out altogether either way when it involves private association.

    I’m not sure that many women can play consistenly with men, over 18 holes over 4 rounds, tournament in, tournament out, with the distances involved. They may be able to drive the ball but the short game will suffer. Golf does deal with some level brute strength which (assuming no enhancements) will still enable men to be superior to women. There is a lot of technique to be sure, but strength and conditioning factor in golf. It is not sexist to diffentiate men from women when strength is involved.

  • Steve S.

    I think what Norman is talking about is changing the rules. There is no rule that excludes women from the PGA (Professionsl Golf Association, not the MPGA). What irks him is that some sponsors get exemptions from the normal qualifying process. This would allow a woman golfer to play in the tournament without qualifying as most players have to and perhaps push someone who would normally qualify out of the tournament. I think that anyone who can qualify should be able to play, no matter what sex they are. Also, the sponsors are sponsoring the tournament. Its their money. If they want to give their exemption to their nephew or girlfriend, they should be allowed to. As far as letting the men play in the women’s tour (LPGA)….there would be no women’s tour.

  • People who know me only from my blog might not know that I’m a professional golfer by trade. Let me clear up some common misconceptions about golf, at least as the game exists here in the States.
    -There is no gender requirement for most male professional golf competitions. Local PGA tournaments even make concessions for women. They are allowed to play from a shorter set of tees.
    -Most clubs, even the private ones, have no gender based restrictions on play. Private clubs are usually for-profit enterprises, and they don’t wish to alienate a large part of the market. Public courses are often owned by municipal governments and are required by law to treat the sexes equally.
    -Very few women are able to compete with the men at the professional level. If you remember Annika Sorenstam’s foray into the men’s game last year she did admirably, but she would have to do better to keep a permanent spot on the tour, and she’s head and shoulders above the rest of the ladies tour. Michelle Wie may have a chance as well, but after that the field thins.

  • I have to agree with Steve that the main problem is that the women are getting the exemptions to be in the tournaments. And the reason they’re getting those exemptions, in my opinion, is the buzz factor. Maybe the 3rd or 4th reason for these promoters is that they think these women should be playing with ‘the boys’, but the #1 reason is The Sideshow Factor. I can’t fault Greg Norman for wanting it stopped.

  • Golf?

    The fact that the EU Parliamentary Assembly has denied the all male Irish team a vote has driven us to post

    Whips and Chains: Women in Irish Politics

    “Ireland is one of two member-states that did not include a woman delegate as required to the EU Parliamentary Assembly”, writes Dr Yvonne Galligan, director of the Centre for Advancement of Women in Politics, Queen’s University Belfast in

    Politicians’ words prove cheap over the inclusion of women in politics (Irish Times February 3, 2004):

    Do our male parliamentarians want to share the work of representation with women? From their actions, the answer must surely be no. Indeed, going on their statements of last week, they don’t regard women politicians as being up to the job of representing the country.

    Och! We’re truly sorry, ma’am, but we didn’t know. Ye see, this paper here that yer writin’ in – the editor –

    what’s her name?
    – is very protective of the male ego ye know – and it told us that one of them fancy europhile
    Fine Gael delegates might have put his foot in it – ye know, said he was embarrassed and wished there were more women in politics – but the paper didn’t tell us that all of our male parliamentarians said such egregious things about women. They should have told us about that.

    Let’s remind ourselves of what brought about this outbreak of parliamentary male prejudice. In September 2003 the Council of Europe passed a resolution stating that for 2004 all national delegations to the Parliamentary Assembly must contain at least one woman. …Their main task is to consider human rights and democracy issues across the member-states. An important part of this remit is to actively support women’s participation in political and public life.

    It’s truly disgraceful that Ireland does not actively support women’s participation in political and public life. We knew it was bad when one of them we actively supported – what was her name – Mary Robinson? –
    quit and got a job in New York!


    female professors from Belfast
    like yerself don’t go down well down here. But since we’re willin’ to be concerned about “democracy issues” even the head of that hard right wing party –

    what’s her name? Another one of those Marys, wasn’t it – in government agrees with that other paper that when we get hold of one we should just
    forget about havin’ more of those expensive elections.

    Irish women politicians would enjoy, and be enriched by, the experience of participating in Council of Europe activities, if they were given the opportunity.

    We’re with ye ma’am, we mean doctor. If we understand it correctly, these the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly delegates are composed of representatives from national parliaments in the member-states. And

    Ireland’s delegates are nominated by the Oireachtas whips, so that Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael, Labour and the “technical group” of independents and small parties are represented.
    (Irish Times January 29, 2004)

    So it looks like that Government Chief Whip,
    what’s her name – besides Mary, we mean, is going to have to get cracking.

    But Doc – is it alright if we call ye that? – you say

    Let’s have no more weak justifications for indefensible, undemocratic actions.

    Is it not undemocratic for Ireland to be completely disenfranchised?

    Read the whole thing.

  • Alasdair Robinson

    The thing about sponsor exemptions and the “buzz” is that after a few tournaments or a few years of tournaments with women competing, the issue will die down. Women won’t be competitive with men and pretty soon nobody will care much to watch Annika miss the cut.

  • ade

    The female tennis players have long argued that at the Grand Slam events, where mans and ladies tournaments are staged side by side, the ladies should receive equal prize money to the men.

    I wholeheartedly agree, provided that the ladies tournament is scrapped, and one open event staged instead. Then they’ll be competing for the same cash!