Thursday, February 13, 2003
The Post on Sorenstam:
Woods, during a news conference, said: "I think it's great she's playing, but -- this is the 'but' part -- it will only be great for women's golf if she plays well. I think if she goes out there and puts up two high scores . . . it's going to be more detrimental than it's going to be any good."
Kris Tschetter, an LPGA Tour veteran from Fairfax, disagreed. "I don't see any downside in this for women's golf," she said. "It's not about whether she can beat the guys. It's just an opportunity to see how the number one women's player would do on the men's tour."
Woods is right, Tschetter is not making any sense. Here are two statements cannot be true at the same time: "It's not about whether she can beat the guys. It's just an opportunity to see how the number one women's player would do on the men's tour."
Oh, and here's the rundown on why I was seeing two different dates for Babe Zaharias in the L.A. Open:
Zaharias was invited to play the 1938 Los Angeles Open to gain publicity for the event [when she was Babe Didrikson-pw]. She shot rounds of 84 and 81, missing the cut. But she returned to the event in 1945, this time having qualified in a 36-hole tournament, playing from the men's tees. At the Open, she shot 76-81 -- 157, making the 36-hole cut. She shot 79 in the third round and was eliminated when the field was cut to 61 for the final round.
Back to the story:
Two years ago, Sorenstam teamed with Woods in a primetime "Battle of Bighorn" showdown against another LPGA Tour star, Karrie Webb, and David Duval in Palm Desert, Calif. Sorenstam and Woods won, but Sorenstam played poorly, and many observers believed the competition reflected poorly on women's golf.
I don't know about that. The Battle of Bighorn was a goofy event. I have mixed feelings about Sorenstam playing at Colonial which I may flog at some point, but that's a separate issue.
Saying "all the attention and speculation is flattering," Sorenstam chose the Colonial Country Club, home of the tournament for 56 years and one of the shortest courses on the PGA Tour. At 7,080 yards, it is still 522 yards longer than the longest course on the LPGA Tour.
Also, the course has only two par 5s, according to the story. That's unusual, typically you have four.
Tell you what, this really takes the air out of Suzy Whaley's appearance at the Greater Hartford Open two months later. I'm sure the sponsors are very disappointed. Before, they had history on their side as far as marketing their event is concerned--first women since Babe, etc. Now they have a female golfer who doesn't have enough game for the LPGA appearing in a second-tier event after qualifying unequally in a way that the PGA has henceforth banned. Yet the funny thing is, without Whaley, Sorenstam wouldn't be playing at Colonial.