An Argument You Just Cant Win


So now its Jean Van de Velde who has gotten his slacks in a twist over the boy-girl thing. In case you missed it, he says he will mail in an application for the 2006 Weetabix Womens British Open. This is in answer to the R&A announcing the top five women in each of the womens majors may try to qualify for the 2006 British Open (or the Open, as it is officially known.)
Its a shame Van de Velde has decided to make an issue of this. Remember, he took an eminently honorable stance in granting interviews after his famous meltdown at the 1999 British Open, patiently explaining his thought processes while undergoing the self-destruction at Carnoustie, even finding the grace to mix in liberal helpings of humor.
And now ' this.
'My whole point is that if women are allowed to play in our tournaments, then reciprocity should apply, said Van de Velde. If not, I don't understand what all of this is all about. I am trying to make the point that there are more important things for our governing body to be concerned with, like searching out whether people are playing with illegal clubs or drugs.'
The issue, though, is far different from this either-or ultimatum. If everything were equal, if the same organization administered both tournaments, if one were strictly for men while the other were strictly for women, then Jean might have some basis for his actions.
The Royal and Ancient, though, administers the Open, while the British Ladies Golf Union runs the womens Open. And the R&A has decided (and this is probably getting really old by now) to open its tournament to the BEST GOLFERS AVAILABLE ' not the best MEN available.
The R&A took a stand for almost 150 years that they wanted their Open to be strictly male. And that was perfectly OK by me. But now that they have opened it up to ALL persons, then what right does anyone have to gripe?
The Womens British Open has decreed that that tournament is for women only ' a point that will be elaborated on later in this sermon. Andy Salmon, chief executive of the LGU, said: The 2006 entry form has not yet been sent out, but the 2005 entry form says that competitors must be of female gender. And we have absolutely no plans to change that.
So, Van de Veldes argument is apples and oranges, or golf balls vs. tennis balls. Somewhere here, a major deconstruct is at play.
Are we talking restrooms here ' men vs. women? Or golf tournaments? Is this an anatomy class? Or is it a sporting event?
Some people assume its as simple as this: if youre male, you play strictly with males. If youre female, you play strictly with females. Theres no mixing of the genders, in these peoples eyes.
But we arent in Saudi Arabia, despite a lot of peoples argument that its just not right. Whats not right about it, as long as the organizers of the tournament dont mind? If you want a tournament exclusively for men, start one and declare that its for men only. Undoubtedly there are many of these on the planet. It just so happens that the major championships of the PGA Tour or the European Tour dont have one.
Now ' should the opposite be true? Should men be allowed to play in a womens major? See ' that is where the breakdown of logic occurs. Men dont have a major, though the Masters, U.S. Open, British Open and PGA Championship have always been won by men. And they will be won by men for the next thousand years.
But the womens tournaments have GOT to stay women-only. If one man were allowed to play , then 100 would demand the right to play. And if 100 demanded to play, then 1,000 would demand the right to play. Why? Because any male pro would win a womens event 90 percent of the time. The event would no longer have any women competitors. There isnt a person alive who would disagree that the Creator gave men more muscular ability than women.
But thats not the case in what is commonly referred to as mens tournaments ' the PGA Tour, for example, the European Tour, etc. Women may play from time to time as sponsors give them exemptions. A woman may even qualify for an event ' or, in the case of the Open, a major. But there is no way in Hades that women are going to take over the so-called mens tours.
The point, of course, should be totally moot. A woman (women?) may decide to enter Open qualifying, but women are still a long way from making it to the first tee in Open competition. Michelle Wie (lets face it, she brought about the qualifying change) isnt about to make it through qualifying anytime soon.
But, some males ' Van de Velde? - are going to complain forever that if women are allowed to play in mens events, that men should be allowed to play in womens. And no amount of reasoning, no explanation of the rules of the British Open, is going to change that.
Now ' with all this logic, let me say this: the naysayers will still say nay. You can quote logic until you no longer can mouth the words ' you arent going to change the mind of a person whose decision is already made. Jean Van de Velde can get right in step with a lot of Average Joes from around the globe. They are going to assume that you have mens tournaments, and you have womens tournaments. Its Bathroom Politics at its zenith, and I dont care how precise the argument is, those people arent going to change.
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