Thursday, July 21, 2016

Rio Olympics 2016: Women's golf loses 

again in battle of the sexes

Any women tennis players feeling resentment towards male counterparts should thank their lucky superstars that they are not golfers.
It is not just a few dinosaurs mumbling against equal prize money that they would have to put up with, but the entire men's game seemingly working against their sport.

At last, women's golf was going to be able to tap into all that priceless celebrity conjured by Tiger Woods, as men's golf finally consented to pitch its might behind its fellow humans. How noble.
So, how has it worked out? Well, even apart from those Muirfield male-only voting buffoons sending the sport screaming in a DeLorean back to pre-Suffragette times, it is not exactly going swimmingly.
In fact, women have every right to believe that the men have actually applied more pressure on their size 12 FootJoys to keep female heads under water.
The reason, of course, is the Olympics and the decision of 20-plus male golfers to skip Rio, including the four highest ranked. This has opened a rift between the two sides of the game which could become unbreachable if the International Olympic Committee concludes that, if the world's leading quartet are not that interested, then neither is the Olympics.
Stacy Lewis, the world No.8, this week explained the anger. "They're all saying the Zika virus, but the more they have spoken about it, the more I think we're seeing that it's not really," said the American.
"If we had a tournament at the end of the year where we could win le bit, too, making sure I was more fresh. But their decision, it affects us.
"It affects women's golf staying in the Olympics, and it's just awful ... We have a bunch of (female) players who were devastated they didn't make the Olympics. 
"So, to see how upset they are by it and then to see how nonchalant the guys have been. Well, it's really disappointing. I just don't understand it."
The point is, the return to the Games is everything for women's golf. It offers the promise of the publicity they crave, which in turn will lead to the sponsorship and raised purses they crave. In the big picture, women's golf has been identified as the area within the sport with the largest potential for growth. We are talking about the game's future, about the survival of golf courses, about arresting plummeting participation levels.
Lewis and Co are not seeking equal pay. Indeed, when they hear the outrage at the daft chauvinistic comments which arise around every tennis grand slam they must think, "if only we could be similarly offended". All they want is their moment on the world stage and, to them, that is the magic of the Olympics.
Yet it could all be wasted by the multi-millionaires in the long trousers not being bothered.
But perhaps the most galling thing is that the women have made sacrifices because of the Olympics, not in terms of health or security, but with one of their biggest tournaments. Next week, the Ricoh Women's British Open clashes with the men's USPGA Championship.
It is anything but ideal and will cost the Woburn major so much exposure. They agreed to it because what they would lose in Milton Keynes, they could more than make up for in Rio.
But now golf will re-emerge after a 112-year absence with negativity the central tone of the narrative. Gee, thanks guys.

The Telegraph, London