Where Are All the Women (Golfers)?

Editor's Note: This post was originally posted on www.twodaymag.com, and reprinted here with the author's permission.

By Anya Alvarez

While watching TV, I flipped to the Golf Channel to get my daily dose of golf coverage.

They were running a special on the PGA tour and the best moments of the year from the tour. Certainly they would have a same special for the LPGA, right?

Nothing. Of course I was disappointed. There have been a lot of great moments this year on the LPGA, and there are many untold stories of lady professional golfers whose stories deserve to be heard.

If any of you are golf fans, you know that there is a huge Asian dominance on the LPGA. Eight out of the top ten female players on the LPGA are of Asian descent. This does not bother me in the least bit. They’ve earned their right to be at the top and they have also earned the right to receive recognition for their accomplishments. I’ve heard Americans complain that they don’t watch the LPGA because a bunch of Asians are winning. Well, it’s no different on the PGA tour, except it’s a bunch of white guys winning.

I do believe the lack of coverage on women’s golf is less due to the Asian dominance, and more due to sexism.

I used to subscribe to Golf Digest, until of course they decided that women didn’t need to be on the cover of it. Since August of 2008, a woman has not graced the cover of their magazine. Not Paula Creamer, a U.S. Open Champion; not American Stacy Lewis, the third ranked player in the world; not Yani Tseng, who is ranked number one in the world. Golf Magazine is no better, considering they did not have a single woman grace the cover of their magazine this year either.

But go to the Golf Digest website, and you’ll see how they view women’s golf. How are women professionals recognized on their site? Here are a couple headlines:

LPGA’S SANDRA GAL VOTED HOTTEST GOLFER

TOUR WIVES AND GIRLFRIENDS

They even have a sexy picture of former LPGA player, Anna Rawson, posted as one of the best Instagram users to follow.

There wasn’t a single headline about an LPGA player that didn’t have to do with something about how she looked.

Perhaps the Golf Channel website would be different? My hopes were quickly dashed as I realized that lady professional golfers are only worth something if highly sexualized.

In a slideshow highlighting the top ten moments of golf in the year, only two out of the ten involved women. In their slideshow highlighting the top ten golf shots of the year, not a single golf shot by a woman was showcased. I suppose out of all the tournaments the ladies played this year, not one shot was noteworthy? Or did anyone at the Golf Channel actually watch a women’s tournament this year?

I competed on Big Break: Atlantis, a reality golf competition show on the Golf Channel, in which the winner of the show receives a grand prize of a sponsor’s exemption into an LPGA event and status on the Symetra Tour the following year.

I quickly realized that many of the girls on the show did not get picked for their golfing abilities. Yes, most were decent players. However, realistically, a majority of them aren’t making it to the LPGA any time soon. These girls were picked for reasons that dealt more with their assets rather than their skills.

Of the twelve girls selected for the show, maybe three or four of them actually have a chance to make a living playing golf. However, no one could deny the fact that it was a good looking group of women.

When Big Break: Greenbrier premiered a couple months later, I was disappointed that women weren’t offered the same amount of eye-candy. All the guys on the season of this golf show were very good golfers. All have the potential to play competitively on tour. While there were a couple decent looking guys, none of them were GQ models.

One can even take a look at the women Golf Channel uses as broadcasters. They are all very good looking women. The male anchors? Not so much.

I understand the desire men have to watch hot women hitting a golf ball. There is no denying that. However, for the golf media to continuously ignore women’s golf diminishes what women are accomplishing on the golf course:

Jessica Korda at 19 years-old won the first tournament of the season at the Women’s Australian Open.

Lydia Ko birdied five out of the six holes on the back nine on Sunday to win the Canadian Women’s Open. She is the youngest player to win an LPGA title at 15 years-old.

Shanshan Feng became the first Chinese player to win an LPGA event.

Esther Choe won twice in two starts on the Symetra tour, placed second in another event, and third in another. She only played six events (the fewest anyone on the Symetra tour ever has) to earn her LPGA card.

Lizette Salas had a great first year as a rookie on the LPGA. And if anyone knew her story and how she earned her LPGA card, it would be hard to not become a fan of hers.

LPGA hall of famers such as Hollis Stacy, Jan Stephenson, Amy Alcott, Juli Inkster and Judy Rankin are often forgotten as well. They are lucky if they get a brief mention in sports history, even though they were some of the best players in the world during their time on tour.

A sports reporter told me, “Coverage doesn’t generate interest. Interest generates coverage.” While it is true that not many people watch women’s golf or attend their tournaments, I do believe it is the job of the sports media, especially golf specific media to report on women’s golf.

Maybe we don’t hit it as far. Perhaps we don’t have as many trick shots up our sleeves. However, if I honestly wanted to take swing tips from any professional it would be a woman.

Why? The guys on the PGA have a special ability that the average golfer doesn’t have. PGA pro swing speeds average from 110 to 125 mph. You cannot teach that swing. The average amateur swings under 90 mph. Women’s swings, while less powerful, are more compact and focus on accuracy. The average golfer doesn’t need to hit it like Tiger Woods and try to blast it 320 down the middle. The average golfer needs to learn how to keep the ball in play in order to make the game more enjoyable.

I love watching men’s golf. But women’s golf deserves to be taken more seriously and given more coverage. We can play and we compete at a very high level.

When my dad taught me to play golf he always told me, “If you’re going to hit it like a woman, hit it like a big woman.” I took that as not to be afraid to hit the golf ball, but also to find a fire within to play the game. While men and women differ genetically, women professionals have the same fire as men do to win. That, my golfing friends, deserves to get noticed.

Follow @anyaalvarez on Twitter.

Original article location: http://twodaymag.com/live/view/where-are-all-the-women-golfers

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