Last month, an anomaly occurred in the professional golf world. Annika Sorenstam, a woman, played in a PGA tour event. That's right: not LPGA, but PGA. This was, and still is, a controversial matter.
Many people, most of them males, do not believe that she, or any other woman for that matter, should be participating in PGA events, but rather competing in LPGA events only. Annika has every right to compete in a PGA tour event. The people who oppose this last statement are, for the majority, male. Their strongest opposing argument claims a woman is not strong enough to compete with the men. It is sexist. Take Serena and Venus Williams, for instance.
Are their strength and speed not up to par for a men's league? As well, they say it breaks the tradition of the old game. Little do they know, Mildred Zaharias, a female, played in a PGA event back in 1954. Sorenstam is the Tiger Woods of the LPGA, or is it the other way around? She ranks number one on the women's tour, and wins over 60% of the events in which she participates. When she wins, on average, Sorenstam defeats her nearest competitor by 11 strokes, deeming her the best female golfer in history.
Many believe that she was granted the right to play in a PGA event just by being superior in the women's division. This is not the case. Like all the men, Annika had to qualify. Only a select number of spots were available for those numerous qualifying hopefuls hoping to clinch a berth for the event. Annika was the only woman contestant; she defeated most of the men in the qualifying rounds to secure her berth in the tournament. Although Annika missed the cut by only 4 strokes, she finished better than over 20 male professionals.
It's not, after all, the PGA - Men's Professional Golf Association. The PGA is for all pro golfers who are good enough to earn berths. Through dedication, hard work, and most of all: grit, Sorenstam definitely earned the right to play in the Colonial last month. Because of the excitement with which she provided me last month, I hope to see Annika play with the men in the near future. Annika Sorenstam is a tremendous role model for aspiring elite female athletes and hopefully has provided them with the ground work to follow her path.