Has there ever been a more controversial year in women's golf? From the Annika-Vijay dustup at the Colonial to Jan Stephenson's infamous interview, it never ends. This week we published a seemingly innocent profile of 23-year-old Stacy Snider, who earlier this year won her second-ever professional start at the $100,000 Michigan PGA Tournament of Champions.
The fact that the field included numerous male players didn't go unnoticed by our readers, including Jim Bielaniec (below), who urged us to put Snider's accomplishment in perspective. Since she was playing from the red tees, Bielaniec wrote, it was hardly a fair competition. The argument quickly fell upon deaf ears here, but I'd be interested to hear your thoughts.
I again read an article about Stacy Snider winning the Michigan PGA Tournament this past summer. I can only say Political Correctness is well and good. The young lady, who appears to be a fine woman golfer, played from tees that were over 1100 yards shorter than the men. What would have happened if she played from the tips like the men or if the men had played from her tees? We would not have heard the name Stacy Snider.
Although we have many other important issues in the world I couldn't help but laugh over the gushing in the article over her "achievement." It really means nothing until the playing field is level for all. Women can't compete against men if it is indeed level because they don't have the strength. Please, Annika Sorenstam played well in the recent skins game but she would be an utter failure on the PGA tour because she would make few cuts, make little money and disappear. The skins game was a lark not a tournament in which players were battling for their golfing survival.
I realize that most people won't actually write what they feel for fear of being bashed but I have yet to meet a sports enthusiast, including many women, who believe the hype involving women attempting to compete against men is little more than a bad joke because of the usual "tricked up" playing field. The media of course is duty-bound to play it up in order to make some people happy and not be labled as insensitive. Common sense and logic loses everytime.
I'd love to "compete" in a baseball game that allows one team only one out in their inning or allows one team to move the fences in 150 feet because women players just can't reach the seats while batting. The fences go back when the men are batting of course. We'll laud the women who hit home runs at the contrived distance and marvel at how they can compete with men. Rubbish.
Jim Bielaniec, via email
I read the comments made by Mr. Bielaniec in a recent article about womens golf. Before he makes comments on one of our tournaments he should check his facts. This tournament has been put on by The Michigan PGA and Boyne USA for 11 years. The tournament field is made up of Men professionals and Amateurs, Men Senior Professionals and amateurs, Women Professionals and amateurs as well as Junior Boys and Girls. Players Quailfy by winning a Michigan Championship.
Each of the 11 years we have had women in the event, great women players with distinguished golf pedigrees, Stacy Snyder, Elaine Crasby, Suzie Green, Stacey Slobodnic, Just to name a few. We have also had some very talented Men players, Dan Olsen, Michael Harris, Scott Herbet. They have all qualified through the guidelines set forth by the Michigan PGA. One thing that Mr. Bielaniec failed to mention, that Men's senior Professionals who played this event had a 500 yard advantage. He also failed to mention that John Traub a Senior Professional was in the final group who still drives the ball over 280 yards. And oh, by the way a Senior Male Professional was Second Jack Seltzer.
The yardage Stacy played from was 5985. Men's Professionals 6850 yards, Men's Senior Professionals 6315 yards. Stacy shot the number it took to win this event, which by the way was three rounds under par (68-68-71). Again Mr. Bielaniec should have checked his facts a little more carefully before he bashes those women golfers who are playing against men at the Michigan PGA Tournament of Champions.
Steve McPhee, Tournament Director, Boyne USA Resorts
Doug: You must be TOTALLY deaf, if Jim Bielaniec's comments about Stacy Snyder's so-called "win" fell on deaf ears with you.
Let me try to clear this up for you: she finished first in a one-person field from the forward tees while the Michigan Tournament of Champions was held from the back tees. If there was more than one woman in the field, then she won the women's division of the tournament. Nothing more, nothing less. Why is that so difficult for you media types to understand?
Frankly, it is demeaning to women to presume that they cannot compete from the championship tees in an event called "tournament of champions."
You so-called golf writers need to stop being social activists and get back to reporting golf before you alienate the entire male golf community.
We are all far too intelligent to fall for this silly "campaign of enlightenment." The only thing that you are accomplishing is to enlighten us to your folly.
Ron Garland, Founder, Golf Nuts Society
The red tees don't necessarily make the course easier. I have found on more than one occasion that their placement can be ackward, turn you towards the wrong part of the fairway, or place you in front of water/trees. Being closer does not necessarily mean easier. And when the men start shooting par from the red tees, then they can boast or deride us women from shooting from there.
Frankly, I will play the red until I can shoot par, which I seriously doubt I will do in my lifetime, but I'M NOT AFRAID to say so. I'd like to see this man PLAY from the red tees and see if his score is so astronomically better as I think he believes it will be!
Barbara Buchler, via email
As I read the article about Stacy Snider's win at the Michigan PGA Tournament of Champions, I felt immediatley torn. On the one hand, I am happy that she played well enough to win and kick start her professional career. On the other hand, as a golf professional for over a decade, I felt for the men playing in the tourney against Snider.
I have played with several female golfers who couldn't break 90 from over 6,000 yards but they continue to shoot par from the short distances covered from the forward tees. I myself do not hit a long tee ball but still play the course as it was designed (from the back tees). I regularly have to hit 5/6 irons into greens while other players are hitting 8/9 irons. Do I complain or move up a tee? NO! I play what the field plays for the sake of competition and FAIRNESS!
I enjoy seeing players win events while paying well but, hate to see players beat by the yardage they are required to play! I say pick a tee based on your handicap not your gender or other non-golf factors. Only then will these type of tourneys be FAIR!
Douglas Schulte, via email
I love watching LPGA woman golf. Any one of them can beat the pants off of me. But I feel if they want to be ranked against the men then they will have to play the mens tees. Like the greatest woman golfer who ever lived: Annika Sorenstam.
Paul, via email
Simply select where you want to play, find a tee time deal, and golf now!