October 02, 2002

You Golf, Girl!

Sept. 21 was a magical night for the Ragin' Cajun football team; their 34-0 thrashing of Alabama-Birmingham has to be the best memory for UL Lafayette football since the Texas A&M upset in 1996. Considering that most of our current freshmen were still ripening for high school back then, getting back in the zone is long overdue.

The student section remained populated even through the torrential downpour that halted game play for 25 minutes. At times, our opponent seemed more like Rayne than Alabama-Birmingham (ooh, BAD joke!), but no amount of inclement weather could dampen the spirits of all the soaked fans who stuck around.

During the delay, I turned around and saw Cheramie headed my way, covered in a blue poncho (wuss). We had columns due in three days and we hadn't conceived a topic yet. Standing around watching the silly frat boys with colorful clothes on, we decided to write about golf.

Well, okay, not really--I know very little about golf beyond Tiger Woods. Even many non-fans of golf, however, know of Tiger’s recent stand on the question of gender discrimination. Basically, he took heat for participating in the 2002 Masters Tournament—held at a course whose rules state that the facility is strong enough for a man, not made for a woman.

Tiger, the very definition of ’00s golf, the classic success story, the kid who realized his lifelong dreams, the man who has an entire sport wrapped around his championship ring fingers, DEFENDED the policy of the Augusta National golf course, saying that, as a private organization, the club can have any policy it chooses.

Way to go there, Tiger. You're grrrrreat!

I do know, as has been opined before, that since Tiger Woods IS golf, all he had to do was say, “let the ladies tee off” and Augusta’s policy would have been dropped faster than a liberal on an oil rig. But that would probably upset Nike, so he just didn’t do it.

Historically, golf is ground zero for sexism. The very name of the sport itself derives from the acronym hung outside the stone gates of the first courses back in merry olde England; “G.O.L.F.—Gentlemen Only, Ladies Forbidden.”

No institution, public or private, which practices this unjustified sexism should have the word “national” in its name; Augusta Irrational Golf Course makes more sense. One bright spot in this whole ordeal is the course’s decision to drop all of that advertising from the Masters. Haven’t we overdone this ad blitz already? But I’ll bet Mr. Nike-Cadillac wasn’t particularly thrilled.

Legally speaking, however, Tiger is right; Constitutional protection against discrimination extends only to government and public institutions. Private parties reserve the right to exclude whomever they choose. Hypothetically, this might open the door to the David Duke Finishing School or the Kaczynski-Koresh Top Gun Academy, but I’m not sure.

The golf issue is part of a larger picture (good thing too, since writing a whole column about golf is torturous), gender-based elitism. I am not so naïve as to believe that private gender discrimination will ever completely fade. However, women are just as capable as men in most "masculine" endeavors, just as men can do a lot of "feminine" things, such as cook, clean and think.

Of what exactly is the “male-only” crowd afraid? Do they fear that women may prove just as able, if not better, than their macho selves? Is it fear of breaking tradition? Or can it be the frightening prospect of turning the course greens into course pinks? Get a clue, gentlemen! Let them in!

Very few of the players on either team at our football game were women, but I doubt that was because the Athletic Complex went out of its way to bar those of the female inclination. More than likely, most women are smart enough to leave some things to the dogs, I mean guys.


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