The IX: Golf Thursday with Carly Grenfell, February 27, 2020
LPGA players in men's events — Interview with Pernilla Lindberg — Must-click links in women's golf
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Playing with the Men
Just as it’s still breaking news when women are hired as coaches in the NFL, MLB, NBA and so on, LPGA players make a lot of headlines when they get sponsor exemptions to compete in men’s professional golf events.
First and foremost, I think shattering these barriers and making this kind of history is awesome for women’s sports in its entirety and women in general. But at the same time, it’s almost the type of news that is fizzling out for me. In a perfect world, it wouldn’t and shouldn’t be big news because it’s just expected. It’s the norm. It’s just how it is.
I realize we’re still some time away from it being totally normal. And I’m especially reminded of this when something like the below happens in the year 2020. There are 24 portraits in this post and not one single female golfer is included. Maybe it’d be okay if they specifically asked which men’s player made you fall in love with golf? It’d be okay if this was a brand like the PGA TOUR or European Tour because that only includes men’s golf. But this was a really disappointing oversight.
I’m always torn between pointing things like this out or ignoring it—because in golf, I feel like we’re all one big community and I don’t work in the industry to find all the things wrong with it. I work in the industry because I feel like I can make a difference. This isn’t okay and by not saying anything, or by not drawing attention to why this post is problematic, it doesn’t make any of us better. We’ll actually continue to make the same mistakes over and over again. This is a company that is supposed to represent all of golf. Not just the men. It’s not a very good message to send—hard stop.
If you really think about it, forgetting about women so often is the reason why news like Pernilla Lindberg playing in the New Zealand Open and Brittany Lincicome competing on the PGA TOUR a couple years ago are so heavily talked about.
Lincicome was the sixth woman to compete on a tour event, joining Michelle Wie, Annika Sorenstam, Suzy Whaley, Shirley Spork and Babe Didrikson Zaharias according to PGATOUR.com. I wouldn’t necessarily call it a shock factor in these moments, and I’m sure it’s an incredible experience as the LPGA player playing in a TOUR event, but it’s almost like women playing golf with men is sensationalized.
Why can’t more news outlets attend an LPGA event or invest in a beat reporter to keep up with the LPGA, instead of just sharing news like this? Because I can assure you the storylines you’ll get out of that are far better and far richer and will move the needle in generating interest than these ones do. I am not by any means dismissing the chance to be a part of history for these women, or undermining how great of an experience it would be, but why not actually invest in the league, and these players, in a more meaningful way?
I could be the only one riding this wave, but it’s just not that exciting of news for me anymore. Show me who these women are, and what they are doing for golf and the world, not how big of a deal it is that they are playing in a men’s event. They don’t need that validation. Their stories are so much better than that, I promise you! (Thank you for listening to my TED Talk.)
The moral to the story is that women are too often forgotten about or simply not given enough credit for what they do day in and day out. We make massive strides in some regards, and in others, it’s like we are starting at square one. In my mind, it’s about calling these instances out and doing our best to explain why we all need to be better; why we all need inclusivity to be at the front of our minds, in everything we do in sports from how we talk about it to how we cover it.
I hope my point here is clear—that I respect and love the fact that women are making history and making a splash in sports society, but it bothers me that it’s seen as groundbreaking in a world where it should just be the expectation and the norm.
And not only that, we should be giving these LPGA players more attention outside of when they get to tee it up with the boys. I absolutely love what Pernilla Lindberg had to say when asked if she felt like this was a glass ceiling moment. Without saying no, she basically said no. I couldn’t agree with her response. Check out more of her thoughts down below in the interview section!
This Week in Women’s Golf
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LPGA veteran is taking on a new role this week—on-course reporter.
The LET is seeing the impact and energized from the LPGA partnership.
The postponement of tournaments is adding urgency for World No. 1 Ko.
This amateur Aussie won an event and now has to decide if she’ll turn pro.
What was it that made Mickey Wright’s swing so special?
Connor Whan wrote an awesome feature on his dad and Commissioner of the LPGA.
Pernilla Lindberg to compete with the men at the New Zealand Open.
Buckle up for a fun ANA Inspiration—all of the last 10 Champions are in the field.
Mike Whan talks with CBS Sports about the growth of the LPGA.
Korean LPGA players are shortening their stays at home due to coronavirus.
Global consulting firm Protiviti teams up with ANWA Champion Jennifer Kupcho.
Mariah Stackhouse featured in this powerful ‘hair love’ campaign.
A Q1 update on No Laying Up Podcast with long-time golf writer Beth Ann Nichols!
Caddying at August while seven months pregnant? Count this coach in.
Two NCAA record-holders will be at Augusta National this year.
Tweet of the Week
Five at The IX: Pernilla Lindberg
Pernilla Lindberg fell in love with the country of New Zealand where her and her husband got married a year ago, and now she’ll return in 2020 to make a different kind of history—being the first woman to compete in the New Zealand Open while celebrating her one-year wedding anniversary. What a trip! Sky Sports/LPGA brings us more insight from New Zealand.
I. On what originally brought her to New Zealand: The first time was in 2010, my rookie year on tour, for the Women’s New Zealand Open. The following year, my then boyfriend and now husband had actually traveled around the previous year with his brother and said he wanted to show me around some more…during those two weeks, we came down to Queenstown and I fell in love with it. I wanted to find an opportunity to come back here again. So when it was time to choose a wedding venue, we were struggling to figure out where to get married. We were struggling to find a place because our family is all spread out but we eventually said let’s focus on what we want to do. Let’s go back to our favorite place we’ve ever been.
II. On whether she’s had an experience like this before: No, first time. It’s probably something that has never crossed my mind before and didn’t think it would come about. It’s just so cool. I was going to be here anyways. It’s one of my favorite countries obviously we got married here…I’m just excited to be back. When this opportunity came about I couldn’t say no. Any chance to tee it up at these beautiful courses, of course I wanted to do it.
III. On her goals this week playing against different people: My goal is to really just go out and enjoy this opportunity; have fun with it. I’m very realistic with expectations and it’s going to be very tough to compete against the guys. That’s not really the reason I’m here, to set high goals for myself. I’m going to soak in the atmosphere, the great opportunity, my really good playing partners and it’s just going to be fun to see what I can do with my game.
IV. On whether or not she feels like she has to prove a point this week: I mean I’m a competitive person so of course I want to show a good performance and at least feel like I’m turning in a good scorecard. It’s always hard to turn off that competitiveness, but in my head, I’m probably going to have to change the pars because on some of the par 4s, they are just a little too long for me. Walking away with a four on those holes will feel like a birdie to me. I can set my own little personal goals but I won’t be too upset if I walk away with a five on those holes.
V. On if she feels like she’s breaking glass ceilings: You know, I think so many good things are happening for the women’s game at the moment. It’s really, really cool to be a part of the LPGA Tour the last few years; this is my 11th year. So many good things are happening for us – more sponsors, bigger events, bigger and better golf courses – so it’s just a good time to be a part of women’s sports in general. Any little step like this helps. Who knows, maybe the LPGA will play here one day and we can have a mixed event or something like that.