How to respond to offensive comments from Mark Lye — Golf, Interrupted Interview — Must-click women’s golf links
The IX: Golf Thursday with Addie Parker, February 10, 2022
Happy Thursday golf fans! I feel like there’s a lot going on in the world of golf this week, so that being said, I will be leaning heavily on embedded tweets and links to get me through so please take the time to click each link so you don’t miss anything. But let’s start here: over the weekend, one of my aunts had texted me an article about comments made by PGA Tour Radio Show host Mark Lye.
“You know, the LPGA Tour to me is a completely different tour than it was ten years ago…you couldn’t pay me to watch. I couldn’t relate, at all. It’s kind of like if you’re a basketball player, and I’m not trashing anybody.”
“Please, don’t take it the wrong way. But I saw some highlights of ladies basketball. Man. Is there a gun in the house? I’ll shoot myself (rather than) watch that. You know I love watching the men’s basketball, I love watching the men’s golf, I never used to like watching ladies golf.”
In a failed attempt to “praise” the LPGA on how far they have come as an organization, he made some extremely offensive comments about the WNBA and that watching their highlights made him want to “shoot himself”.
The article I linked above was the one that was sent to me originally, so it felt necessary to share it, however, I encourage you all to also read this article from GOLF.com. I believe it puts Lye’s comments in a clearer context. Regardless, what he said was obscenely disrespectful and I agree with SiriusXM’s decision to fire him from the show.
He took to Twitter and stood firm in what he said, and I think it’s safe to conclude that he won’t be issuing an apology either.
I’ve mulled over Lye’s words for days now, and part of me is impressed that he was so candid about tuning into women’s golf and enjoying it. We should be more graceful towards people who are like him. It’s okay to change your opinion over time — it’s natural. However, he could’ve celebrated women’s golf without mentioning the WNBA at all. Because now, we are no longer focused on his praise, every kind thing he said was invalidated by a poor choice of comparison.
What he said is a sentiment that, unfortunately, a lot of people share and they made it very clear in the comments under his tweet. But the comment section isn’t the real, tangible world. I’m sure that Mark Lye didn’t think for a moment about how his comments made the women in his life feel. It’s easy to rejoice in his termination, and it brings a little peace of mind knowing that he no longer has the platform of a radio show, but he still feels the way he does about the WNBA and probably other women’s sports — and that’s the issue.
This isn’t the first time, nor the last time that we will address harmful comments made about women’s sports on Thursdays. But like my mother always taught me, let’s not make the same mistake twice.
How do we learn from this? For starters, you can read what our amazing founder and editor, Howard Megdal, has to say every Wednesday. There’s much to be learned about the kind of unnecessary flack the WNBA receives so frequently, and us golfers need to pay attention while extending our support.
It shouldn’t take having a mother, sister, aunt, or niece to respect women. It doesn’t take playing a specific sport to be a fan, which is why millions tune into the Summer and Winter Olympics when they come around. Professional athletes are still people, and they work so ridiculously hard to give their fans something to be proud of.
So in his newly-awarded free-time, I hope Mark is working on his jump shot while the LPGA is on break until March 3.
“When it comes to sports, women are big targets for abuse because the resentment is two-fold. Some resent us for our confidence and beliefs. But there also is an added resentment because we are supposedly infiltrating a space that has been decidedly male.”— Jemele Hill
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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 welcomed…I mean it…MESSAGE ME!
Stacy Lewis named youngest US captain in Solheim Cup history. She will lead Team USA in Spain next year!!!
More links on Stacy a quick Q&A with 2023 US Solheim Cup Captain Stacy Lewis and Stacy Lewis in command of game and life!
Over the weekend, the LPGA Drive On Championship wasn’t broadcasts, but history was still made. Leona Maguire becomes first Irishwoman to win LPGA Tour title.
The ladies of Europe are in Kenya this week and I’m insanely jealous of their playing partners.
Epson Tour News
Goodbye Symetra…hello Epson!
The Epson Tour 2022 schedule has been released, check it out:
Commissioner Marcoux Samaan said that this was THE year for the LPGA and Road 2 the LPGA, and this is a big way to follow through on that claim. Here’s more on the schedule and the record-breaking purses for the events:
Newly Named Epson Tour Announces Record-Breaking 2022 Schedule (some awesome quotes are included to definitely check those out).
Our friends at Clearview are making another The IX appearance, and rightfully so. What the Powell Family has given golf should be celebrated every day.
Five at The IX: My conversation with Amaya Athill from “Golf, Interrupted”
A couple weeks back, I introduced you all to my friend Amaya, who has re-entered the golf space, and wants to highlight some big time issues when it comes to golf and the lack of Black people, specifically Black women, in our sport.
Tomorrow at 2pm EST, Amaya and I are going live on her Instagram page, @golf_interrupted , to discuss our history with golf, what we hope changes in the future, and so much more. I hope that you can join us and listen in on a conversation that I’m so excited about!!
I got to sit down and zoom with Amaya earlier this week as we discussed topics for Friday. I made the executive decision to not cut down any of her responses because her story is so special and we get a better world view of what golf is like beyond the US!
So enjoy her words and her beautiful story:
Everyone has their own experiences with golf, what has been the one that has impacted you the most?
There was no one moment in particular. This is going to sound super cliche but what impacted me the most was the period when Tiger Woods was dominant on the PGA tour.
At that time I was an avid junior golfer. It was such an exciting time. Golf became more than just a sport me and the other junior golfers (friends) played, it became a sport we could immerse ourselves in indulgently, expectantly, excitedly weekend in and weekend out. It felt like a personal win for us when he succeeded. It felt like a personal loss when he would lose. We would reenact his form of play like going for a stinger shot or lining up our putt by copying his squat while holding your hat with both hands to create a “tunnel vision” or by fist pumping when we made putts. We lived and breathed golf because of Tiger’s golf.
Seeing a Black man dominate a sport so completely does something to young people of color – it gives us a vision of who and what we can become. So as a young golfer I started to believe that I could be a professional golfer. Granted, that didn’t happen [laughs] but it opened a door in my mind to the possibility.
That being said, is that moment/experience what inspired you to start “Golf, Interrupted”? If not, what was the process behind starting such a cool initiative?
Unfortunately not. I had taken a hiatus from golf during university and at the start of my career. I kind of got stuck in to doing life and golf wasn’t the priority for a while. When the pandemic hit in 2020 I was living in London. I was confined to my one bedroom apartment for about a year before I admitted that it was taking a toll on my mental health. I felt like I needed to find a way to get outside and so I fell back to the one sport I play – golf.
The purpose behind golf, interrupted was threefold:
- To connect with golfing communities of color
- To share my journey of re-introduction to golf
- To work less and golf more (be intentional about my work-life balance)
From that original intention came this discovery of how underrepresented people like me are in golf. Coming from Antigua where the golfers around me were all people of color, being the only Black girl at courses I visited and not seeing many Black women golfers in the UK was a culture shock.
So while I stick to the original missions of the page, Golf, Interrupted has now become a platform to highlight the stories of Black women in golf as we are clearly underrepresented and it’s important that we are seen and that our stories are heard.
How would you describe your experiences on the course from when you first started to now, especially as a Black woman?
I had an amazing group of friends that I grew up in golf with. We learned together, competed together and against one another both locally and through the Caribbean. It was so much fun. Growing felt organic and natural and unencumbered. Some of my friends turned pro like Helyne Joseph others continued competing like Omarry James Jonathan Pigott and others decided to pay it forward to the next generation of young golfers by coaching at our home course like Skye Anthony.
As an adult, I have to be more intentional about golf as I’m now playing on my own dime and not my parents dime like when I was a child (adulting sucks) and also because work can drain you so you have to really make the time to get out on the course. I also struggle with my mental game a lot more now because I suddenly have all of these expectations about what my game SHOULD be based on how good I USED to be. So there’s a lot more unpacking that I have to do around my mindset and I have to actively give myself grace because I’m no longer that teenage golfer who plays/practices 5 times a week.
As a Black woman in the sport in a predominantly white country I feel on the one hand invisible and on the other hand hyper visible. People will overlook me generally but I stick out like a sore thumb at most clubs because I am usually the only Black woman there. When people see that I actually can play well I suddenly I exist as an entity that is suddenly worthy of peoples curiosity as opposed to their silence. It’s been a difficult learning experience to be honest. This is why I love playing with groups like the African Caribbean Golf Association because I feel a sense of belonging and care.
I also have to say that my local course is a municipal course and I didn’t have the same issues as I have had with private clubs re: invisibility and hyper visibility. From the very beginning my club Brent Valley made me feel welcome and comfortable and I’m very for the members.
What does more diversity in the golf space look like to you?
I live in London. London is so incredibly diverse with communities of people from all over the world. So more diversity in golf looks like golf clubs truly reflecting the diversity that exist in their local communities to include diversity of age, sex, ability, and race.
To me, diversity also looks like having better representation in all levels of golf. With my focus on Black women, it looks like more Black women playing and progressing to positions such as Ladies Captain or playing for or holding positions at county/national level. It means having more Black women golf coaches or qualifying as PGA certified professionals. It means having more Black women professionals on tour.
Who is a role model that you have that’s not a golfer but has shaped your golf game?
I had asked this question as well, but Amaya had honestly admitted that it had stumped her! We decided to take a beat and pick up this question during our live conversation, tomorrow!
Don’t forget to go to her Instagram page, @golf_interrupted, to tune it, at 2pm EST! See you then, golf fans.