If golfer Greg Norman had his way, the PGA Tour would permanently bar women from playing in its events.
The Australian star dismissed women in men's events as a marketing ploy, and said men's tours should consider changing their bylaws to prevent women from receiving sponsor's exemptions.
"I think the situation is more of a marketing ploy than anything else," Norman said. "If the girls come out and think they can play against the guys and fail every time, that can't be very positive."
Norman's comments came three weeks after Michelle Wie, 14, missed the cut by a stroke in the Sony Open, an effort that prompted seven other PGA Tour events to offer her exemptions.
"I'm very impressed with her game, very impressed with her attitude and demeanor at such a young age," Norman said. "But I think the rightful place is that women play on their tour and we play on ours."
Norman, preparing for the Heineken Classic, addressed the subject when asked to comment on Laura Davies' appearance next week in the ANZ Championship -- the first start by a female player in an event sanctioned by the European and Australasian tours.
"I think everyone is just jumping on it, and it's got to stop," Norman said. "How do we stop it? It's up to our administrators to come up with the wording of our bylaws.
"The players have got to vote it in on a majority vote. We can't go play on their tour because we're not female, that's the wording they have in their bylaws. I think we should do something about it."
Eric McErlain and Ted at Women's Hoops have their say on this. I tend to agree with what Ted says, which is that the issue is with sponsors' exceptions. Seems to me that if that's so, the problem will correct itself one way or another. Either the novelty will wear off, and the occasional exception given to a hometown favorite like Laura Davies will be considered equivalent to one given to a non-golf pro celebrity, or someone like Michelle Wie will prove herself a worthy competitor and will force her way onto the PGA Tour as a regular.
Eric raises a question about the long-term effect on the LPGA Tour:
[W]hat happens to the LPGA Tour if the best players on the women's tour are playing in PGA events? Is it possible we could be looking at a situation analagous to Major League Baseball and the Negro Leagues, where the Negro Leagues were doomed once their best players were allowed to compete on a level playing field in the Majors?
Basically, the Women's events have always been a niche market of sorts, and I suspect the same is true of the LPGA, WNBA, WUSA (RIP) and any other women's/ladies'/girls' league. That doesn't make them pointless by any stretch - I for one am a season ticket holder to the Houston Comets and plan to be for the foreseeable future - but if they are all eventually mooted by the integration of women as full and respected competitors in the related men's leagues, I don't think that will be counted as a loss in the grand scheme of things.Posted by Charles Kuffner on February 04, 2004 to Other sports | TrackBack