Hailey Davidson is a trailblazer — Brooke Henderson’s homecoming — Must-click women’s golf links
The IX: Golf Thursday with Addie Parker, Aug. 25, 2022
Welcome back to another Golf Thursday, everyone. It was difficult for me to find the words to write to you all this week because I just didn’t know how to articulate exactly what I think and feel about the world’s response to Hailey Davidson. And let me be clear, in my eyes she is incredible, and the moment for us to embrace a trans woman in golf has been longer overdue (like most things in this sport— unfortunately). But to see the bigotry that has been thrown her way by ignorant people disguising their transphobia as “protecting women’s sports” has me a bit speechless.
So I’ll lay it out plain and simple…trans women are women. The participation of trans women in women’s sports is neither harmful, nor unfair. What is harmful are the counter arguments being made which reduce womanhood to simple “biology”, regarding genitalia and physical endurance. The thing that people fail to realize is that women are aware that we may not be as strong or as fast as men, but we have developed finesse, we have gotten creative, and we have learned to train our bodies to reach peak performance.
I first heard Hailey’s story on my friend Lisa Cornwell’s podcast ‘Like It Is’ last month. During the episode, they discussed Hailey’s transition which began seven years ago. She began hormonal treatments in September 2015, and last January she underwent gender reassignment surgery. But most importantly, Hailey had talked about questioning her identity at a young age and what gender identity means to her.
What has me scratching my head the most about the recent hate Hailey has been receiving is that is seems…late. A year ago, she battled her way through LPGA Q-school and didn’t make it, but yet her second attempt has garnered all this attention, and I can’t figure out why. When she won the three golf titles she possess, there wasn’t much noise being made then either, so, why now? Nevertheless, it’s all unjustified but the timing of it all seems weird and I’m a firm believer that everything happens for a reason and that Hailey’s story is being brought to light for a much bigger reason.
I consider Hailey Davidson a trailblazer, and even trailblazers have mentors that came before them. For instance, Lana Lawless, was a retired police officer, who sued the LPGA over a decade ago causing the organization to eliminate their “female at birth” policy in their constitution.
There was also Bobbi Lancaster, who took a shot at Q-school in 2013 as a 63-year-old, but is now a human rights activist. Lancaster is also a mentor for Davidson, where Davidson has said that without Bobbi, she couldn’t do what she’s doing. “I don’t think I could do this without what Bobbi did. I wouldn’t have any chance in the golf world without what Bobbi’s done.”
And before both Lawless and Lancaster, there was Mianne Bagger, the very first trans women to play professional women’s sports. She joined the Australian Ladies Professional Golf Tour in 2004, and then the Ladies European Tour in 2005, but was banned by the LPGA from playing (this was before they had changed their constitution). The following podcast from a couple years ago dives into Bagger’s experiences as a trans woman, as well as how her golf game evolved.
I had reached out to Hailey earlier in the week, hoping to feature her in this week’s Five at The IX, but I haven’t heard back yet! But, she took to social media yesterday and shared her thoughts on what people have been saying:
I’m excited for what’s to come for Hailey. This moment is huge, it sucks and people are jerks, but she’s opening the door for so many trans kids who maybe never thought about golf but just might start paying attention.
“It is not our differences that divide us. It is our inability to recognize, accept, and celebrate those differences.”Audre Lorde; American writer, womanist, radical feminist, professor, and civil rights activist.
This week in women’s golf
If you have links you wish to share for Golf Thursday, sources for golf news, or want to talk about anything at all, you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org ! Discussion of any kind is always welcome…I mean it…MESSAGE ME!
Ashleigh Buhai took some time off after her major championship win, and now she’s back to business, click to read about what she did post-AIG win and her mentality going into this week at the CPWO.
The Korda Sisters were victorious in Spain for the Aramco Team Series! Team Jessica Korda (Tereza Melecka, Noora Komulainen and amateur Malcolm Borwick) backed up their excellent first day of -19 with another great round to seal victory on 33-under-par in Spain. Meanwhile Nelly rallied from seven shots back to beat big sis.
Epson Tour News
Team USA leads after day one at the Women’s World Amateur Team Championship in France hosted by the International Golf Federation. The team includes Rose Zhang and Rachel Heck of Stanford and Rachel Kuehn of Wake Forest.
Five at The IX: Brooke Henderson at the CPWO
Q. So when you come back to Canada, whether it’s the ManuLife Financial Classic what used to be in Cambridge or anywhere in Canada, I mean, you’re one of the star attractions. You get more people tugging at your sleeve here I think close to Ottawa. How do you handle that all that kind of extra attention that people want from you?
BROOKE HENDERSON: Yeah, it’s definitely a balance, and I mentioned kind of 2017 was a really big learning experience when the tournament was held here in Ottawa. Just finding the correct amount of time to have practice and also rest and then also give to media and to fans and to CP, who I’m a proud ambassador for.
It’s a bit of a balance, and making sure that you’re ready to go come Thursday. So I feel like over the last few years I really learned a lot in how to manage my time. Like I said, I look forward to this week every single year, and so I try to give it my all in all those aspects during this week.
Hopefully I’ll just be able to play well on Thursday and be in contention on the weekend.
Q. The Brooke’s Brigade was out in full force today. Lots of people from Smith Falls, family members, including your grade five? Teacher. What do those moments mean when you get to see people from Smith Falls, and how do you refocus and get back to concentrating on the game?
BROOKE HENDERSON: Yeah, the Brooke’s Brigade is awesome. I love seeing especially all the young kids out there. They seem to be really enjoying themselves, which is great. Then also being so close to home I see lots of family and friends, and my grade five teacher. She was one of my favorite teachers, so really cool to see her out there today.
Haven’t seen each other in a really long time. It’s such as amazing opportunity to get to play in front of all these people, and I’m trying to embrace that as much as I can and thank them for coming, and then also try to stay focused and play the best that I can.
Q. What will this course demand?
BROOKE HENDERSON: This course, it can be really tricky, and I think it depends on the weather the next few days as well. Normally it’s pretty fast and firm, and with the rain we’ve had the past couple days it’s softened up a little bit, but still fast, especially on the downhill putts and some of the slopes on the greens.
I think it’s tricky and you can run into trouble. At the same time, if you’re hitting lots of fairways and hitting it to the right portions of greens you can make a lot of birdies. The scores were pretty low here in 2017, and I would suspect they’ll be low again. Just trying to be aggressive and hit good shots and see what happens.
Q. What’s has it meant to have your sister by your side through this journey of becoming the winningest Canadian of all time?
BROOKE HENDERSON: I love having her on the bag and just being able to travel around the world together, it’s been a super fun journey. She’s my best friend and works really hard for me on and off the course, so just to have all these unique experiences, it’s been fun, and hopefully she stays on my bag for a long time.
Q. How does your game feel now coming into this week? You’re traveling back and forth, won the major. How are you feeling?
BROOKE HENDERSON: Yeah, the last few months have been a lot fun. I feel like my game has been in a really good spot and I have been able to win twice, which is awesome. Even in the weeks where I didn’t win I was still top finishes. I think the last few months my worst finish is like T16 or something, so that’s a lot of the fun.
I feel like hopefully I can just kind of keep that momentum and the confidence level at a high for a while. Playing this week obviously, and then I’m playing two weeks in Ohio and Portland, so it’s a busy stretch, and hopefully this week I can kind of get off to a fast start and continue to ride the wave of playing well.
It’s fun when you’re hitting it well and you have a lot of birdie opportunities.
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