July 14, 2005

Outdoor Corner

by Chris Feeney

As Michelle Wie was making the effort to become the first woman to make the cut in a Professional Golf Association (PGA) event in the last 60 years, I couldnít help but become a little aggravated with the situation.

Maybe it all stems from my time in high school, when girls were allowed to play football. I had no problem with that. But, my school did not have baseball back in the day, and when I asked if I could play softball on the girlís team, I was forbidden. They told me I could be a cheerleader, but I was seeking the fast road to the big leagues, not the big screen.

While Iím still upset Iím not playing for the Cubs today, my therapist says thatís not the root of my problem. So I must just be intolerant. As a middle-aged white male, I find it is time for me to start complaining about discrimination.

How is this fair, that a 15-year-old girl is allowed to participate in the PGA event? Isnít that what the LPGA (Ladies Professional Golf Association) is for? Iím not saying we should segregate based on sex, or race or whatever discriminatory trait that one might use to label me a bigot. Iím simply saying itís not fair to that one guy out there who didnít get to play at the John Deere Classic because Wie is playing in his spot. I doubt the LPGA would allow him to cross lines and play in their event to try to make up for his lost payday.

This situation is a little less complicated, since Wie is an amateur and wonít play a role in the prize money distribution. But when Annika Sorenstrom played in the Colonial back in 2003, some poor PGA pros finished behind her and thus won less money.

I might even be more understanding if Wie was dominating the LPGA and needed a bigger challenge. Instead she descended on Davenport, IA and stole the thunder from the tourneyís winner, Sean OíHair. Who? OíHair was an impressive story on his own, winning the $720,000 top prize in just his 18th career PGA event, a day before his 23rd birthday, but nobody cared because of the female phenomena.

Iím not saying Wie, Sorenstrom or any other female golfer for that matter isnít talented, or canít compete on the same field as men golfers (my wife routinely kicks my behind on the course). I just donít think it is fair to those who lose their spots. You see, women can cross over and play PGA events, but men donít have that option. Iíd make the same argument for allowing amateurs to play. Pros canít play down, so I donít believe the kids should play up. I didnít believe they should have let Casey Martin use a cart on the PGA either, so Iím not only biased against women and children but handicapped folks as well.

It seems in this world of political correctness that everyone is afraid to take a stand. We are consumed by rules that prevent anyone from getting an unfair sporting advantage, such as letting Shaquille OíNeal play in the WNBA. Yet we bend over backwards in the other direction, failing to protect the sportís integrity by allowing anyone to compete if they might be a threat to cry discrimination.

Proponents will point out that the only way Wie can take a manís spot is by beating him. It isnít the MPGA (Menís Professional Golf Association) was another taunt I heard during my discussion of my feelings about this issue. I suspect that may be the only way to resolve this issue, but if the MPGA was formed it quickly would be labeled as discriminatory. Please address all hate mail to the author at 121 S. Main Street, Memphis, MO 63555.

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