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Sergio said it was wrong. But it's oh so right.
May 22, 2003 12:22 PM   Subscribe

Ever hear of Fred Funk, Tom Lehman, or Jim Furyk? All three are currently tied with a certain female golfer who posted a +1 score today. The question is this: should female golfers be allowed to qualify and participate in the PGA? I mean, they already have their own league. Actually, the same argument was used back in 1947.
posted by graventy (44 comments total)

 
It's the PGA, not the MPGA. It's either about the best golfers competing for the top prize or it isn't. If the PGA wants to go a few decades back in time then it's their right and I wouldn't argue in favour of taking away that right, but their rankings should always have an asterisk after it.
posted by substrate at 12:28 PM on May 22, 2003


I don't even like golf and I am completely intrigued by this story! I hope she makes the cut; at this rate, she'll make it handily. Go Annika!
posted by tommyspoon at 12:29 PM on May 22, 2003


A brilliant column was written by rcade over at SpoFi where this has been discussed quite a bit recently.
posted by Ufez Jones at 12:35 PM on May 22, 2003


Here is a GREAT column from ESPN.com about why the griping about her playing is unjustified-it says it all better than I ever could. It basically answers any complaint I've heard about her playing.

If the PGA changes their bylaws as a result, they are going to take an even worse beating than they did during the Master's hulabaloo. They are going to appear like little spoiled boys who don't want a girl to play in their sandbox. Waaaaaahhhh.
posted by aacheson at 12:36 PM on May 22, 2003


I think if you replace it with "blank", you can fill in your own level of offensiveness:
The question is this: should {BLANK} golfers be allowed to qualify and participate in the PGA?
In the 21st century, why must this continue to be an issue? Is she qualified? Yes? Then let her play. Why any other factor matters is beyond me.
posted by Ogre Lawless at 12:52 PM on May 22, 2003


The question is this: should female golfers be allowed to qualify and participate in the PGA?

Two local morning show host made the decision for me when they made some sly male-shovanist remarks. first they pointed out that she will donate half her winnings to charity. Then they said to the lady hosh: she has to be 19th or 20th to earn some winnings.

Yes, let her play she's donating money, what's to argue, the charity she bestows the winnings.
posted by thomcatspike at 12:56 PM on May 22, 2003


hosh=host,
Please add to...to earn some winnings, like yea right that will happen. Right there they stepped on their own story by not encouraging it, imho.
posted by thomcatspike at 1:00 PM on May 22, 2003


I hope she makes the cut; at this rate, she'll make it handily.

Not exactly. The low 70 & ties make it past the first two rounds. As I'm writing this, she's tied for 71st. If it were to end now, she wouldn't make the cut. Of course, there's always tomorrow.
posted by pardonyou? at 1:09 PM on May 22, 2003


Jeez, there are a lot of people (MeFi and elsewhere) commenting who are getting things wrong. You are entitled to an opinion, but you are also entitled to some facts, people.

Any golfer who makes the cut in a PGA TOUR event makes money (between about $6,000 and $900,000 this week). 114 players start a PGA TOUR event like the Colonial. The cut is the low 70 and ties. (At this moment, her +1 score in round one has her at T-71, which would make the cut) I can't find stats on what the cut line at the Colonial has been in the past, but it will likely be at +2, give or take a shot.

Annika has to have fewer putts tomorrow. She hit all but one fairway and a lot of greens, but her putting was shaky. A shame to see her bogey the last, because she played a beautiful round of golf.

The question is this: should {BLANK} golfers be allowed to qualify and participate in the PGA?

Yes, any golfer should be allowed to qualify and play in a PGA TOUR event. But she did not qualify. She was given what's called a "sponsor's exemption", and is therefore exempt from qualifying rules. Now, is she qualified? Yes, as one of her playing partners said earlier this week, her resume is very impressive, male or female, and she is very qualified.

This discussion will arise again later this year when a teaching pro named Suzy Whaley plays in another PGA TOUR event in Hartford, CT. She DID qualify, by winning a tournament against men last year. BUT: she played that tournament from forward tees, and the course was about 10% shorter for her. Rules have been re-written to prevent that in the future, which I agree with.

Should women/men/martians be allowed to qualify and participate in the PGA? YES, but all by the same rules.

Should the PGA Tour change the rules to forbid women from receiving sponsor's exemptions? No, that's a 19th-century reaction in line with Augusta not allowing women members. It's their right, but it doesn't make it right.

I am not against Annika playing this week, and I am rooting for her to make the cut.
posted by msacheson at 1:23 PM on May 22, 2003


I personally don't care about golf, and don't understand why some male golfers are so put off by the woman's participation in the tournament. That being said, her participation is nothing more than a publicity gimmick.

I don't think we will see dozens of women entering PGA tournaments as a result of this.
posted by Durwood at 1:24 PM on May 22, 2003


A question for future pondering: would the LPGA ever lobby the PGA for an exclusionary rule?
I don't quite know how the numbers work out, but the PGA has the better money. If it ever reached the point where a very good LPGA player could make better money with lower finishes in PGA events, talent might start to drain from the LPGA. The LPGA, I would imagine, has an interest in preventing this from happening.
Other than that, rcade is right on.
posted by tingley at 1:31 PM on May 22, 2003


Yes, any golfer should be allowed to qualify and play in a PGA TOUR event. But she did not qualify. She was given what's called a "sponsor's exemption", and is therefore exempt from qualifying rules.

msacheson, check the essay that, um, your wife linked to:
First, Colonial is an invitational. It has just 114 players, and there is no qualifier to get in.

Maybe that's why she chose the Colonial. Maybe it was b/c she thought it was a course that suited her style of play. Maybe it was the only one that she could get a sponsor's exemption for. Maybe they approached her. Regardless, knocking her for not qualifying when there is no qualifying process doesn't seem quite right.
posted by Ufez Jones at 1:36 PM on May 22, 2003


The cut is the low 70 and ties. (At this moment, her +1 score in round one has her at T-71, which would make the cut)

Actually, no it wouldn't -- T-71 means there are exactly 70 golfers lower than +1. As of right now (4:30 EST), Annika's T-72. There are 20 people in the group just above her (even par), so they are T-52 -- i.e., places 52 through 71. So the current low 70 are at even -- plus one extra tie.
posted by pardonyou? at 1:36 PM on May 22, 2003


The question is this: should female golfers be allowed to qualify and participate in the PGA?

Certainly. Part of the reason she is such a good golfer is because the sport is not segregated in Sweden as it is in the states.
posted by lasm at 1:37 PM on May 22, 2003


The question is this: should {geneticly enhanced telekinetic cyborg super} golfers be allowed to qualify and participate in the PGA?
all I'm saying is that it doesn't work in all situations
posted by blue_beetle at 1:38 PM on May 22, 2003


Frankly, anything that annoys golfers is fine by me. But I'd be cheering her on anyway.
posted by tommasz at 1:50 PM on May 22, 2003


Frankly, anything that annoys golfers is fine by me.
Use to not care much for golf coarses, might not be able to get in, but love the greenery over any parking lot/housing/store.
posted by thomcatspike at 1:56 PM on May 22, 2003


The only issue I have with this is the fact that there is a second league for women only and she does end up taking a man's spot (one that some poor guy trying to make it on the tour can't get on the womans tour).

That guy is getting screwed. Is it for a greater good? probably. All in all I'm all for this and I can't think of a solution to this problem anyway.

heh on reflection I guess they could make it so that any guys getting bumped from a male tournament get's to compete with the women but I doubt that any male golfer would go for that one.
posted by bitdamaged at 2:05 PM on May 22, 2003


Part of the reason she is such a good golfer is because the sport is not segregated in Sweden as it is in the states.

And, she went to University of Arizona. Playing golf year-round in the states has helped.

pardonyou?, I'm sorry, but I think you're wrong. (The placing we're discussing is logically bouncing around as players are still on the course today, and this doesn't really matter until tomorrow) The next best score, even par, is a T-52, so they would not cut the field there, becasue that would be only the low 52 scores. It's cut at the low 70 plus ties, and that means at least 70 players make the cut and play on the weekend.

msacheson, check the essay that, um, your wife linked to:
First, Colonial is an invitational. It has just 114 players, and there is no qualifier to get in.

Maybe that's why she chose the Colonial. Maybe it was b/c she thought it was a course that suited her style of play. Maybe it was the only one that she could get a sponsor's exemption for. Maybe they approached her. Regardless, knocking her for not qualifying when there is no qualifying process doesn't seem quite right.


Ufez, you're right, I should have checked that story linked by my wife. I was mistaken to say that she was exempt from qualifying rules, but to imply that Colonial simply invited everyone who is playing is misleading as well. Most players got into the tournament by certain rules; i.e.: there were not 114 invitations. These rules include, but are not limited to, world ranking, money earned last year or this year, finish position in last year's Colonial, past winners, etc.

By some accounts, upwards of 10 PGA TOUR events have offered her sponsor's exemptions this year. She chose Colonial because the course suits her game.

I'm not knocking her for not qualifying, because I agree with the established rules of sponsor's exemptions (the sponsor's pay the money, they should make some decisions on who they want to play). Check my comment above in reference to the question posed in the original post: should women be allowed to qualify and play? Yes, but under the same rules as men. I agree that Suzy Whaley qualified to play in Hartford under then-existing rules, and that's fine, but I agree with changes that all future QUALIFIERS play under the same rules (and length of golf course).

I guess it's all semantics, and I look like Bill Clinton or Ari Fleischer and covering all bases, but I have clearly stated my positions to different questions.

Sponsor's exemptions for women: okay by me.
Qualifying by women: okay by me, under same rules as men.
PGA TOUR possibly changing rules to forbid sponsor's exemptions for women: not good change.

Publicity for golf this weekend: priceless.
posted by msacheson at 2:09 PM on May 22, 2003


Sponsor's exemptions for women: okay by me.
Qualifying by women: okay by me, under same rules as men.
PGA TOUR possibly changing rules to forbid sponsor's exemptions for women: not good change.


I agree completely msacheson. And thanks for the info regarding how many tourneys offered her exemptions. Cheers.
posted by Ufez Jones at 2:21 PM on May 22, 2003


By some accounts, upwards of 10 PGA TOUR events have offered her sponsor's exemptions this year. She chose Colonial because the course suits her game.

citation
posted by msacheson at 2:25 PM on May 22, 2003


*side issue alert*

pardonyou?, I'm sorry, but I think you're wrong. (The placing we're discussing is logically bouncing around as players are still on the course today, and this doesn't really matter until tomorrow) The next best score, even par, is a T-52, so they would not cut the field there, becasue that would be only the low 52 scores. It's cut at the low 70 plus ties, and that means at least 70 players make the cut and play on the weekend.

No, the number they use for the "tie" is the highest rank, not the lowest, of the particular group. An example: Say the winner finishes -12, the next lowest is -11, and then three people finish -10. Those three all finish T3, not T5. So if you wanted to know who were "the low four and ties," you would include first, second, and all of the people at T3 (three, four, and five), not the next group (which would be T6). Likewise, the low 70 would not include anyone at T71 or worse (although it would include everyone at T70, even if that was 40 people -- 70 through 110).
posted by pardonyou? at 2:29 PM on May 22, 2003


Ohmygod, watch pardonyou? and msacheson are competing for the title of "biggest golf geek" with their discussion of the cut.
posted by aacheson at 2:34 PM on May 22, 2003


Ohmygod, watch pardonyou? and msacheson are competing for the title of "biggest golf geek" with their discussion of the cut.

Heh. I was composing another reply because I still didn't think I had explained myself clearly, but I think I'll just stop now.

And anyway, as Marc suggested, it's all academic until tomorrow. As of right now she's tied for 66th, which we can all agree would make the cut.
posted by pardonyou? at 2:38 PM on May 22, 2003


And, I think even she would agree, is much better than she expected to do. Imagine the pressure she's under!
posted by aacheson at 2:41 PM on May 22, 2003


bitdamaged: She got a sponsor's exemption. She's not taking any "men's" spot. No one got screwed out of participating.
posted by linux at 2:46 PM on May 22, 2003


Wouldn't this same discussion* also apply to the NBA/WNBA?

* Except for all that tie stuff, I don't get that.
posted by kirkaracha at 2:47 PM on May 22, 2003


I can never understand why they segregate certain sports by gender, when clearly no particular gender has an advantage over the other.

Snooker and darts spring to mind.
posted by SpaceCadet at 2:52 PM on May 22, 2003


That being said, her participation is nothing more than a publicity gimmick.

For any other golfer, I'd agree with you, but not for Annika Sorenstam, who's just about the least flashy top athlete I can image. Like this article at CNNSi says, this is about an athlete who has, in a sense, "outgrown" her current competition (she dominates women's golf far more than anyone, including Tiger Woods, dominates the PGA), and wants to test herself against better competition. (Not to disparage the other members of the LPGA...)

As for the WNBA/NBA, I'm not sure there is a women, yet, who could compete regularly at the top levels of basketball; there's too much of a discrepancy regarding height and power. Eventually, I could (and hope to) see it, but not right now.

I do think that Serena Williams would scare the pants off some of the men if she entered a men's tennis tournament, though. She might not win, but like Annika she could compete.
posted by arco at 3:01 PM on May 22, 2003


I'm hoping Annika's success at Colonial will be the beginning of a massive change in professional sports - competition at the highest levels based on talent, not based on gender.

I'm not sure I entirely buy the "height and power" argument, arco, mostly because of the number of times I've been smoked on the basketball court by women a foot shorter and 80 pounds lighter. While Steve Nash doesn't post up Shaq, they play the same game on the same court with different strategies. I think there are a few women at the top of the WNBA who could play in the NBA, especially at the point and shooting guard spots.

I think it's possible that the real discrepancy is the professionalism discrepancy. It's only been for a brief period of time that women have had the chance to play sports for a living. In tennis and golf, it's looking like the very top women can hang with the men. How long before we see women in basketball and soccer playing at the very top level of the game? Will other sports figures be as threatened as some pro golfers seem to be?
posted by obruni at 3:29 PM on May 22, 2003


obruni, Haley Wickenheiser is doing pretty well in a second-tier pro men's hockey league in Finland.

And don't even get me started on Manon Rheaume. Played goal in an pre-season game in the NHL, and happens to be totally hot. Yum.
posted by Samsonov14 at 3:58 PM on May 22, 2003


That being said, her participation is nothing more than a publicity gimmick.

As opposed to what? They're not out there curing cancer--they're there to make money for them and their sponsors by enticing people to watch.
posted by jpoulos at 5:51 PM on May 22, 2003


look, we're competing for penis size here
posted by Satapher at 7:16 PM on May 22, 2003


FYI, last year the cut was at 3 over par. However, I've heard that the course is expected to play 'faster' tomorrow, so the cut will probably be lower than that this year.
posted by graventy at 7:50 PM on May 22, 2003


Look guys, women can't even be REFEREES in many pro sports-you think they're gonna let them COMPETE? Nope, not on your life.
posted by msacheson at 10:54 PM on May 22, 2003


DAMN IT, I did it again. I posted the above, NOT msacheson. We have GOT to start logging out after we're done. Damn cookies.
posted by aacheson at 10:56 PM on May 22, 2003


I'm hoping Annika's success at Colonial

You know, everyone I see, on places like espn, and even here to an extent, keep raving about how well she's doing. I don't know that I'd really consider it a glorious success. Honestly, given where she's laying now, I seriously doubt she'll make the cut (unless she starts hitting some of those 5-6 footers). But let's face it, if she was a guy, and this was her performance, nobody would be giving it a second thought.

In the modern PGA, with the way course lengths have become, I'm sorry, but women just can't compete. Could they potentially do adequately on shorter courses focused more on accuracy? I think Annika has shown that they can, but so far it's only an adequate performance measures by PGA standards.

Now, don't get me wrong, I've always been quite impressed with her. She's obviously completely outclassed the women in the LPGA, and I can understand that maybe the lack of competition could get a bit frustrating to her (not that I believe she's ever said that). But if that's true, I'd rather see her actually earn her way into spots on the PGA by qualifying the same way everyone else has to (something that quite frankly, it wouldn't suprise me if she could do). If she did that, then I don't feel that anyone would have any right to criticise her for playing PGA tournaments. Without that, it really is just a publicity stunt, with the LPGA undoubtably praying that she doesn't embarass herself (and hence them) too badly (which I'd say she's avoided doing).

Now, the one thing I think we can all agree on is that she'd kick my ass on a golf course any day of the week, blindfolded and with one hand tied behind her back. (For that matter, she undoubtably could do it off the course too).
posted by piper28 at 11:04 PM on May 22, 2003


This is awesome. I'm for people competing in events for people not genders, races, etc.

More power to her and more power to the guy who gets the same exemption to play in the WPGA.
posted by rudyfink at 11:37 PM on May 22, 2003


Wouldn't this same discussion* also apply to the NBA/WNBA?

As for the WNBA/NBA, I'm not sure there is a women, yet, who could compete regularly at the top levels of basketball

You're joking, right? You think the top levels of basketball are in the NBA? Where the rules (as laid out here) are enforced less than half the time? There is very little basketball, of worth or otherwise, being played in the NBA today.

The WNBA, while it has its problems, is still basketball. If you want to watch good basketball, watch them. The WNBA is where you'll find the best basketball being played.
posted by emmling at 1:08 AM on May 23, 2003


I personally think the thing that this hurts the LPGA. If Annika does well on the PGA tour and starts a trend of more women participating in events then the LPGA will turn into a minor league.
posted by LouieLoco at 7:08 AM on May 23, 2003


What I'd like to see, LouieLoco, is both leagues evolving into leagues based solely on merit. Drop the L and have a major league and a minor league that both genders can play in according to talent.
posted by orange swan at 7:27 AM on May 23, 2003


If you think Annika competing ably against the men is great (as I do), you should know that there's a 13-year-old girl named Michelle Wie, who drives the ball a Tigeresque 290 yards, and is already competitive at LPGA events. And she already wants to have a go at the guys: she's scheduled to play a Nationwide Tour event (the mens' "minor leagues") in September.

She may very well be ranked among the best golfers in the world (male and female) by the time she's 18. If you don't think that prospect has some men shaking in their spikes, think again.
posted by pardonyou? at 8:02 AM on May 23, 2003


DAMN IT, I did it again. I posted the above, NOT msacheson. We have GOT to start logging out after we're done. Damn cookies.

I think it's obvious that MeFi should exclude its bylaws to prohibit women competing on the same threads as men.
posted by soyjoy at 8:26 AM on May 23, 2003


Aw... that woulda been cute if I had used the word I meant, "amend," instead of "exclude." Never mind.
posted by soyjoy at 8:27 AM on May 23, 2003


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