An Argument You Just Cant Win
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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Tiger Tracker: 147th Open Championship
Tiger Woods shot his second consecutive 70 on Friday at Carnoustie and enters weekend play at even par for the championship, still in contention for major No. 15.
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Scott and Sunesson a one-week partnership
CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Adam Scott has been in between caddies for the last month and went with a bold stand-in for this week’s Open Championship, coaxing veteran looper Fanny Sunesson out of retirement to work for him at Carnoustie.
Sunesson caddied for Nick Faldo in his prime, as the duo won four major titles together. She also worked for Henrik Stenson and Sergio Garcia before a back injury forced her to retire.
But for this week’s championship, Scott convinced the Swede to return to the caddie corps. The results have been impressive, with the Australian following an opening 71 with a second-round 70 for a tie for 16th place.
“It's been going great. Fanny is, obviously, a fantastic caddie, and to be able to have that experience out there with me is certainly comforting,” Scott said. “We've gotten along really well. She's picked up on my game quickly, and I think we think about things in a very similar way.”
Scott was also asked about a potential long-term partnership between the duo, but he didn’t sound hopeful.
“It's just for this week,” he said. “It would be up to her, but I don't think she's making plans of a comeback. I was being a bit opportunistic in contacting her and coaxing her out of retirement, I guess. But I think she's having a good week. We'll just take it one week at the moment.”
After tense Augusta Sunday, Rory ready to be aggressive
CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Rory McIlroy temporarily lost his superpowers during the Masters.
In one of the most surprising rounds of the year, he played tentatively and carefully during the final day. Squaring off against the major-less Patrick Reed, on the brink of history, with the backing of nearly the entire crowd, it was McIlroy who shrank in the moment, who looked like the one searching for validation. He shot a joyless 74 and wound up six shots behind Reed.
No, the final round was nowhere near as dispiriting as the finale in 2011, but McIlroy still sulked the following week. He binge-watched TV shows. Devoured a few books. Guzzled a couple of bottles of wine. His pity party lasted a few days, until his wife, Erica, finally dragged him out of the house for a walk.
Some deeper introspection was required, and McIlroy revealed a healthier self-analysis Friday at Carnoustie. He diagnosed what went wrong at Augusta, and then again two months later at the U.S. Open, where he blew himself out of the tournament with an opening 80.
“I was worrying too much about the result, not focusing on the process,” he said. “Sunday at Augusta was a big learning curve for me because, even if I hadn’t won that tournament, but I went down swinging and aggressive and committing to every shot, I would have walked away a lot happier.”
And so McIlroy has a new mantra this week at The Open.
Let it go.
Don’t hold back. Don’t worry about the repercussions. Don’t play scared.
“I’m committed to making sure, even if I don’t play my best golf and don’t shoot the scores I want, I’m going to go down swinging, and I’m going to go down giving my best,” he said. “The result is the byproduct of all the little things you do to lead up to that. Sometimes I’ve forgotten that, and I just need to get back in that mindset.”
It’s worked through two rounds, even after the cool, damp conditions led McIlroy to abandon his ultra-aggressive strategy. He offset a few mistakes with four birdies, shooting a second consecutive 69 to sit just a couple of shots off the lead.
During a sun-splashed first round, McIlroy gleefully banged driver on almost every hole, flying or skirting the bunkers that dot these baked-out, undulating fairways. He wasn’t particularly accurate, but he also didn’t need to be, as the thin, wispy rough enabled every player to at least advance their approach shots near the green.
Friday’s weather presented a different challenge. A steady morning rain took some of the fire out of parched fairways, but the cooler temperatures also reduced much of the bombers’ hang time. Suddenly, all of the bunkers were in play, and McIlroy needed to adjust his driver-heavy approach (he hit only six) on the fly.
“It just wasn’t worth it,” he said.
McIlroy hit a few “skanky” shots, in his words, but even his bigger misses – on the sixth and 17th holes – were on the proper side, allowing him to scramble for par and keep the round going.
It’s the fifth time in his career that he’s opened a major with back-to-back rounds in the 60s. He’s gone on to win three of the previous four – the lone exception that disastrous final round (80) at Augusta in 2011.
“I don’t want to say easy,” he said, “but it’s felt comfortable.”
The weekend gets uncomfortable for everyone, apparently even four-time major winners who, when in form, ooze confidence and swagger.
Once again McIlroy has that look at a major.
The only thing left to do?
Let it go.
Z. Johnson may have to pay for the jet home
CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Zach Johnson will have some bragging rights when he gets back to the ultimate golf frat house on Friday after a second-round 67 moved him into the lead at The Open.
Johnson is rooming with Jordan Spieth, Jason Dufner, Kevin Kisner, Jimmy Walker, Justin Thomas and Rickie Fowler this week at Carnoustie. It’s a tradition that began two years ago at Royal Troon.
Kisner joked on Thursday after he took the first-round lead that the perks for the house/tournament front-runner were limited: “I probably get to eat first,” he said.
There is, however, one running wager.
“Two years ago we, I don't know if you call it bet, but agreement that, if you win, you get the jet and you buy it, so we go home,” said Johnson, who added that because of varying travel arrangements, the wager might not be needed this year. “I didn't pay last year. Somebody else did.”
Spieth won last year’s championship at Royal Birkdale.
Despite the expense, Johnson said he didn’t know how much it costs to charter a private flight back to the United States, but it’s a good problem to have.
“I’d be happy to fork it over,” he smiled.