Someone put chocolate
in my peanut butter! No, worse! Someone put peanut butter in
worse--someone let a...a...female golfer compete with the men!!!
To hear the hew and
cry surrounding Annika Sorenstam, you'd think the end of the world is
nigh. Annika, as the best lady golfer in the world, was given a
sponsor's exemption to play in the Colonial tournament--the first woman in
58 years to compete in the men's PGA Tour. She will play from
the men's tees, on an equal footing (well, except that she
might be wearing cuter shoes...).
Vijay Singh, who won
the PGA's EDS Byron Nelson tournament last weekend, has been the lightning
rod for the view that this is upsetting the sacred order of PGA
golf. He had this to say about
Annika: "I hope she misses the cut. Why? Because
she doesn't belong out here." He went on to say that he would
withdraw from the Colonial if they had the temerity to pair him with her.
To quote Bill Murray
in the movie Stripes: "Lighten up, Francis." And
understand the game you're playing. PGA golf is neither brain
surgery nor a social laboratory. It is a show. It is
entertainment. In that regard, the PGA is identical to the NBA, the
NFL, The Matrix, and the Rolling Stones. It is a vehicle to compete
for entertainment dollars.
athletes, we are like dancers, singers, jugglers, or mimes. (Okay, I
withdraw the comparison to mimes...) If we don't fill the
seats, we are out of work. If we don't draw potential customers to our
sponsors' advertisements, we are useless. That is ultimately why I
had a platform in the NFL, and that is ultimately why you have a PGA tour.
The game is not about golf
balls in cups or footballs in endzones. The game is about eyeballs on advertisements.
In that regard, Annika
has already succeeded brilliantly. Who but die-hard PGA fans even
knew about the Colonial before this? Name another PGA
event this year that has generated more media attention and free advertising.
How many young girls will now
ask their dads to teach them to play golf?
And most compelling,
how delicious will it be to see her beat some of the guys?
Annika Sorenstam has
shown grace and dignity under pressure. She has drawn positive
attention to the sport to which she has dedicated herself. And she has
put a fright into the men whom she has a chance to defeat.
Annika, you go girl!