Ernie Els is being quoted as saying Davies presence as the only female in the field of this co-sanctioned (European and Australasian Tours) event is not the natural thing to do. And I dont see why.
Colin Montgomerie is being quoted as saying, There doesnt seem to be a finite end to this. I dont really understand it. And I dont understand what he doesnt understand.
Annika Sorenstam got to play in a PGA Tour event. Famously so. So did Michelle Wie. So did Suzy Whaley. Se Ri Pak got to play against the men in Korea. Sophie Gustafson played against the men, too.
Why shouldnt Laura Davies, a future Hall of Famer, a long hitter and one of the great personalities in all of sports, get her chance?
I know what most of the men who oppose women playing against the men at the games highest levels fear. They are afraid all of this will turn into a trend.
It will not. There are less than a dozen women in the world with enough game to realistically believe they can make the cut, much less challenge for the lead against the best men. None of those women, save for the 14-year-old Wie, have expressed a desire to play against the men on a regular basis. None of those women, with the remotely possible exception of Sorenstam, could ever hope to finish in the top 125 on the money list on the PGA Tour in this country any time in the near future.
This is not a trend any more than it was a trend when Casey Martin won the legal right to ride a cart in competition. In that instance, there wasnt a flood of players with similar disabilities good enough at golf to make it through the 108-hole crucible called Q-School. No trend ensued.
As for the sponsors granting these unrestricted exemptions: They know where their bread is buttered. They dont want to alienate the men by giving away exemptions lightly to players who dont belong in their events, regardless of gender.
Norman gets it right when he says poor performances by women against the best men will be detrimental to the womens tours. Which is another reason why this wont be a trend unless a woman comes along who can hold her own. Wie is the best candidate for that. And the guess here is shes at least six years away from being physically, mentally and emotionally equipped to prove it.
If she succeeded on the PGA Tour, it would be a great story. More than that, it would be an inspiration for anybody who has ever been told they cant achieve something.
But Michelle Wie is like Tiger Woods and Michael Jordan. She has much to yet achieve. But talents like hers come along once in a lifetime. She is not a trend.
So I think its time everybody chilled out a little on all of this. Allow it to run its course. Lets root for Laura Davies this week. She is an underdog. It will be great to see her succeed. If she plays poorly, she can handle it.
This is something we should all be able to get.
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