We are the only site on the web devoted exclusively to intellectual conservatism. We find the most intriguing information and bring it together on one page for you.

Home
Articles
Headlines
Links we recommend
Feedback
Link to us
Free email update
About us
What's New & Interesting
Mailing Lists
Intellectual Icons
Submissions

 

Play It Again, Annika
by April Whitney
25 May 2003

Annika Sorenstam boldly opened doors for women in golf, but inexplicably will not walk through those doors that she opened.  She now has an open invitation to return to the Colonial, but has stated point blank that she will not do this again.  I just don‘t get it.

I may be the only person in America who is unhappy with the results of Annika Sorenstam‘s dramatic and historic journey through a PGA tour event.

The problem is not the way she played in the Colonial this week; I was more than thrilled with that.  She played exceptionally well, considering it was her first time playing in a men’s event and she was under such intense media scrutiny.  Nor was the problem the way she handled herself.  She was poised, focused and determined, even when her game began slipping away from her on Friday.  She played like a professional and a champion right to the end. 
   
One can only imagine how well she might have done absent the chaos, or how well she might do in the future with a few more PGA tour events under her belt.  But we may never know, and that is what infuriates me.  Annika boldly opened doors for women in golf, but inexplicably will not walk through those doors that she opened.  She now has an open invitation to return to the Colonial, but has stated point blank that she will not do this again.  I just don‘t get it.

I do not understand a world-class top-notch athlete who takes on an enormous personal challenge yet leaves it incomplete.  She said she was overcome with emotion because she wanted to keep playing; she did not want it to end.  So wouldn’t it make sense for her to try again next year, or in another tournament?  It seems to me she could only improve with practice, so why not give it a shot?  The fans would love it: those standing ovations she received at the Colonial are sufficient proof of that.  The sport of golf would benefit greatly from it; I know I am not the only person who is decidedly not a fan of golf but who was planted in front of the television set this week.  And she would benefit from it too, wouldn’t she?  Making a niche for herself playing with the boys and doing it well…I just don‘t see how that could be a negative experience for her. 
   
I do not understand her motivation, but must concede that it is her career, and she is free to make her own choices.  She entered this tournament for herself and does not owe the rest of us anything.  But what makes the whole situation even worse is one line that she said when discussing her decision not to play in another men’s event. 

She actually uttered the following words: “I know where I belong.” 

She may have meant the LPGA, but with that terminology she might as well have been referring to the kitchen or the laundry room, or any other location where men like to keep women in their place.

Annika!  Hello!?!?  Did you happen to notice what you did this week?  In two days of doing what you do best, you proved to just about everyone, including countless skeptics, that you belong on any golf course that you want to play!  You met your personal challenge, and earned immense respect from your colleagues in the process.  Isn’t that the point of what you were trying to do?  Didn’t you want to see if you could play a men’s course and hold your own?  I’m not sure if you noticed, but you did just that! 
   
I believe you belong wherever you want to play, but once again I must accept that it is your choice.   In the meantime, whether you intended to or not, you carried the hopes of female athletes on your shoulders, and you may have dashed some of their dreams with that comment.  If the world’s greatest female golfer doesn’t belong on the PGA tour, who does?  How can you encourage less accomplished women to give it a try, if you’ve made it so clear where you “belong?”  Where do they belong, Annika?

Next time you put yourself in a position from which you can influence those who admire you, perhaps you should choose your words more carefully.  When you chase your dreams in the public eye, you are not alone.  The young girls and women who followed your journey want to know where they belong. 

Women athletes belong in sports, at the highest level at which they can compete!  Thanks for showing us that, Annika.  Now can you please tell us too?

April Whitney is an attorney in Washington, DC.


Email April Whitney


Send this Article to a Friend