Hannah Green’s historic win and mixed events — Black History Month golf literature — Must-click women’s golf links
The IX: Golf Thursday with Addie Parker, February 24, 2022
This week, Hannah Green reminded me of Wimbledon 2019. Serena Williams and Andy Murray became the fiercest mixed-doubles partners of all time (I think our Tennis Tuesday friends would agree.) To be completely honest, I’m more of a Serena fan than I am a tennis fan, but this duo had me glued to my tv.
They were a spectacle! Two of best tennis stars of their generation teaming up kind of unexpectedly, generating even more buzz around the already popular major. The team eventually got eliminated, but it was still magical to see.
But what I love most of all is their very obvious chemistry and friendship, which translated to their playing. Murray has been a constant ally and supporter of the Williams sisters, and female athletes period, and that advocacy doesn’t go unnoticed. Not only does he talk the talk but he walks the walk, and in our current climate where so much is spoken but never changes, we can appreciate his actions.
I could really sit and rave about Serena and Andy but I’ll leave that to Joey! The heart of today’s Golf Thursday is to be open to the idea of mixing and matching. Unexpected collaborations are probably my favorite thing about popular culture. Whether they are tv or movie crossovers, two music artists coming together to make a summer anthem, golf pro-ams at Pebble Beach, or mixed-doubles in tennis it’s always fun to watch the best of the best working together for a change.
I’d like to see more mixed-gendered events across all golfing tours in the future. Maybe that takes place during the Olympics, or a Solheim/Ryder Cup mash up, but I want to see more of the best players battling it out and challenging one another.
Last weekend, Hannah Green made history in her home country, where she became the first woman to win a mixed golf event.
It’s pretty fair to say that even Hannah agrees, after her round she had this to say about the event: “I don’t think this will be the last time these events keep happening. I can easily see 20 on the schedule coming soon hopefully.”
Over the last few years or so, you can begin to see where golf has become slightly less stringent. Back in December, the PGA Tour hosted the PNC Championship, which has gained notoriety over the last couple of years, in large part due to Tiger and his son Charlie entering the field and wooing everyone with their adorable relationship and similar mannerisms. You could argue that Tiger will always be a spectacle when he plays and I don’t disagree, but I think the more these tours give opportunities for players to allow their personalities shine through and play into the theatrics (like the Ryder and Solheim Cup) of teaming up, will make golf more appealing to the casual viewer.
The par 3 contest during Masters week (by the way it’s only 42 days away…EEEP) is another instance that allows players to loosen up and get creative. Players get their families and friends to caddie for them and you can see the enjoyment of everyone involved. It’s the small pocket of non-traditional fun, during the most ceremonial week of golf.
More recently, we have seen the LPGA host the Hilton Grand Vacations Tournament of Champions, which included kickoff concerts and a celebrity field. A couple weeks back the PGA was in Scottsdale for the infamous Waste Management Open, which garnered a lot of attention!
Each of these events, on top of the Solheim, Ryder, and President’s Cup are proof that golf fans like spectacle. We yearn for the drama between players (I’m looking at you Bryson and Brooks), and every once in a while we appreciate a cold alcoholic shower. I think the introduction of more mixed-events can be all of these things. The smaller, more localized events during the year (like where Hannah won) are essential, we can’t get rid of those, if anything we need more, but there’s also magic in novelty. Having clashes between countries (or continents really) biennially makes it that much more enticing, which is why the possibility of having the Olympic golf formatting altered is so appealing.
Last year in Tokyo, the IOC introduced 18 mixed-gendered events during the Olympic games.
“The mixed events are truly important because they really embody the equality of male and female athletes on the field of play,” said Kit McConnell, the IOC Sports Director. “There is nothing more equal than a male and female competing as one team on the same field of play towards the same sports performance.”
For so long, golfers never set out to become Olympic champions, that’s not where the focus is! There’s nothing to lose here. It’s every four years, where it’s easy to get lost in all the events, so go ahead and make it as fun as possible to give people something to look forward to.
Hannah’s historic win has opened the door to so many possibilities of how we can keep golf relevant. The world of golf and its tours have the habit of being the last to adapt to change, and are constantly fighting irrelevancy. But in a time where golf is widely popular and becoming increasingly more casual — the time to shake the table and introduce something new is now! And I don’t mean a golf league in Saudi Arabia…I mean something that the players will actually support and be willing to do for the fans.
“The most damaging phrase in the language is it’s always been done that way.”— Grace Hopper
This week in women’s golf
If you have links you wish to share, 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!
Highlighting black women in golf: Quick QA with Girls Golf site director Carolina Mincey, Quick QA with LPGA Ams Member Denise Adams , Quick QA with Girls Golf site director Brittny Lott , and A PGA Representative: Jasmin Cunningham
Epson Tour News
Five at The IX: Black golf literature
As another Black History Month comes and goes, I wanted to give you all some insight. I am researching Black women champion golfers prior to the establishment of the LPGA in 1950 for an assignment for LPGA.com. It’s been a labor of love and I have run into so many walls trying to uncover information that will do these women justice. But I have found some books and articles that have shed light on these hidden figures and their accomplishments. I am adding these to my personal library and I hope you do too.
“This groundbreaking history of African Americans and golf explores the role of race, class, and public space in golf course development, the stories of individual black golfers during the age of segregation, the legal battle to integrate public golf courses, and the little-known history of the United Golfers Association (UGA)–a black golf tour that operated from 1925 to 1975.”
“Forbidden Fairways is not just a history of the African Americans who have been playing golf for over 200 years but a tribute to them as well. From the unnamed South Carolina enslaved young man who first dared to hit a golf ball when his master wasn’t looking . . . to another young man named Tiger who dared to win the Masters while the whole world watched.”
“Revel in the triumphs of African Americans who left a legacy to the game of golf and American history. Recommended for children and adults, this one-of-a-kind publication illustrates how African American golf history has impacted the world of golf and America’s civil liberties.”
“Heroines of African American Golf, a fully-illustrated companion volume to The African American Golfer: Her Legacy, serves as a compendium of in-depth biographies of women, collegians, and junior golfers who have defied the odds in playing in the sport of golf. Ten of the golfers’ biographies included are actually written by the athletes themselves, covering their personal experiences in the sport.”
Now this book is different from the others…it’s fictional and adventurous but still can be considered an account of the Black golfer’s experience.
“Playing in the Dark is about a predominately black junior golf team in unknown Sunset, Oklahoma back in the early 1960’s. Their quest is to win a national junior golf tournament held annually in Daytona Beach, Florida. They are financed and backed by two billionaires who are involved in a bet by four other billionaires.”
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