When do Terrorism and Vigilance cross over? Is it when a woman
tees off among a field of 110 men golfers, the majority of whom are
silently against her presence? Or, is it when she makes her
final putt and beats 11 men out of a field of 110? Or, is it all
based on a little boy's view of a role model unafraid to compete
against the Beast of Golf Terror.
24, 2003—Ground Zero Plus 619
Terror of 110 Men Stalking One Woman
Editor, New York City Combat Correspondent News
ZERO, New York City--To any woman, walking into a ring of 110
competitive men all armed with clubs and geared to beat anyone who
stands in their way, is a Terror experience. Especially when the
woman has been warned that she isn't wanted, and that she shouldn't be
playing in the same league as the men.
Annika Sorenstam missed the cut at the
Colonial by four shots
Terror is heightened when millions of people are watching, some
rooting the single 5-foot, six-inch trim woman on, while others are
hoping she'll fall on her face and become a spike mat for all the men
who don't want her challenging their "private territory."
That was the case of
professional women golfer Annika Sorenstam, the Ladies Professional
Golf Association's (LPGA) top player. She slung her
bag full of golf clubs over her muscled shoulder and stepped onto the
"men's" golf turf, the first time a women has played in a men's
professional golf tournament in 58 years. The last visit by a
woman was Babe Didrikson Zaharias who played in the L.A. Open in 1945
and made the cut. Unfortunately, Babe didn't qualify
for the final round. However, she also made the cut that
year in tournaments in Tucson and Phoenix.
Nearly six decades later,
Annika made a similar plunge. Facing more than a hundred
male competitors, she battled the 7,080 yard Ft. Worth, Texas Colonial
Country Club golf course, a strategic course she picked to play
because of her skill in placing shots.
But her battle to win a berth
in the final cut failed when she was unable to keep up with the pack,
scoring five over par for 36 holes, and finishing 96th.
She did, however, score better than 11 men. On the
critical side, 99 men scored better than she.
(link to PGA leaderboard)
Part of me was rooting for Annika,
and another part was ruled by the Beast of Terror, hoping she would
falter. I caught myself battling my own Beast of Terror,
wanting her to make the cut and at the same time, gleefully rooting
for her to miss.
One of golf's top players made
a statement that he hoped she "didn't make the cut," and that she
didn't "belong." The Beast of Male Golfers chuckled
Once upon a time I was a very
good golfer, racking up an eight handicap. But I was
erratic. I had a bad golf temper, and when I didn't play good, I
stormed and stomped and was known to throw clubs--etiquette unbecoming
a sport that requires maxim personal discipline.
On one memorial occasion my
wife and I went to Scotland. Our goal was to play St. Andrews.
It was a horrible day for me in the briar and brambles, but my wife
scored one of her best games (and whipped my butt) while I ended up
with my worst. She birdied the most difficult 17th hole while I
whacked and scuffed. My caddy was so afraid I would
explode he lagged back about 50 yards to avoid a helicopter spinning
club whirring wildly from my angry hands.
I understood the anger of
many men who saw an intrusion into the "old boy's club" by women
intruding into their domain. Each woman who played bumped
a guy, stole food from his table, cut his chances of a moment of
player, Annika Sorenstam
I wrestled with the thoughts: "Well, if women can play on the
PGA, and all things are equal in the eyes of competition, then why not
have men start playing on the LPGA? If I were a guy
looking to win some bucks, why not slide down to the LPGA, pick up
some tournament cash, and then slide back up to the PGA? And, if
things got tough up in the PGA, I'd just slip down to the LPGA, scoop
up some victories, and then yo-yo my way through golf."
Terror attacks are
supposed to produce Fear in the populace, and as a man, I was afraid
of a certain part of my male domain being invaded. I
didn't like the feeling.
supported her and her sister, Charlotta. The girls played
soccer, tennis, badminton, and later on, both took up golf.
Charlotta says "we were the little boys they never got."
I have two daughters.
Both are superb competitors in their fields. All their
lives, my goal has been to teach them they can do anything, and that
the world measures a person not by sex but by achievement.
And, that all barriers that stand before them are nothing more than
challenges, not booby traps.
They heeded that advice,
well reinforced by their mother. One daughter went
on to become an accomplished peace activist, fighting for
marginalized, disenfranchised people. The other became a
federal law enforcement agent. She packs two 9mm Glocks, and
works undercover to root out criminals. Her world is
a generally male-dominated force of testosterone, in which she must
compete on an equal level against people who carry weapons and will
kill to avoid jail.
Also, both of our
daughters were superior sports competitors. One went on to
become a national champion softball pitcher and a Junior Olympic
Volleyball Silver Medalist. My wife and I coached young girls in
softball, and I prided myself in being able to help girls rise above
the ceilings often placed on them in the competitive field.
This is where my angst
came to play.
That part of me that
wanted Annika to achieve, to break out of the mold, was under severe
stress by the idea of the "men's club," and that certain competitive
areas were isolated between men and women.
harassed by the Beasts of Male Terrorist Chauvinism
Of course, I knew that thinking was simply "macho chauvinism," but the
feelings were there. When Annika stepped up to the tee or
approach shot, I could feel the Sentinels of Vigilance rooting for her
to make a good shot, and simultaneously, being harassed by the Beasts
of Male Terrorist Chauvinism, wanting her to duff the shot.
I also knew that on
any given day any golfer could shoot a great or bad score.
A lot of the game had to do with the alignment of the stars.
I'd heard many legends of a famous pros walking into a club house,
buying a putter out of club barrel, and smoking the course.
Who knows exactly why one
day shines on any competitor and rains on another?
I knew one thing.
The Swedes were yelling in Annika's native tongue, "Da Ga Flicka,"
which translated means, "go, girl!"
I had fought all my
life for equality in sports, business, and politics for women--if for
no other reason than I knew it was unfair to my own daughters to be
limited by gender versus achievement. At the same time, my
male selfishness raged. Part of it was because golf was my
special sport, the one I excelled at and took pride of ownership in.
I had never thought of golf being an "integrated" sport from the
gender view. It seemed golf was a combination of power and
strategy, not unlike the war in Iraq where the U.S. strategically
drove bunker-seeking missiles into targets about the size of a green
with the accuracy of a Tiger Woods.
Terrorism creates Fear, Intimidation and Complacency as its
radioactive fallout. It is neutralized by Courage,
Conviction and Right Actions for the Children's Children's Children.
My final attitude
about the playing of Annika in the PGA was shaped by one of the golf
announcers comment about his young son. He was saying that
his son was rooting for Annika, not because she was woman trying to
"beat the men" or break "barriers," but because she was courageous
enough to try.
I thought about the
role model of a woman symbolizing to a young boy that the "attempt was
Children in a world
of Terrorism need examples of Courage, Conviction and Right Actions.
Whether these models are women or men is not important. What is
important is that the Beast of Terror fades into the sunset when it
comes to tee time.
|"When I was a little
girl, I looked up to a lot of the players, and I wanted to be like
them. And if I impacted any girl around the world to come out here
and watch golf and learn, and follow their dream, if it's golf or
if it's singing or whatever. That's wonderful." Annika
Just teeing up the ball was an act of Courage, and, playing in a field
commonly reserved for "men only" was an example not of "women vs. men
power" but an example of Vigilance. It was ultimately a
signpost to a young boy that achievement exceeds gender, and that
Vigilance is much more powerful than the Terrorism of not trying.
"Da Ga Flicka,"
Our Sentinel of
23--Terror Island or Vigilant Island?
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