Go Suzy Whaley!
I know, you're going "Who the heck is Suzy Whaley?" And that's a shame. Suzy Whaley is currently (as in right now as I write this) on the second round of the Greater Hartford Open. Yes, that's a stop on the PGA Tour, and no, I did not forget the L.
There's another female golfer hitting balls with the men, and we should all be happy. While golf is not a physically demanding sport, like Basketball or American Football, women need to make their inroads somewhere. After the Annika circus expired, I wondered if I had to wait until Michelle Wie grew old enough to drive a car before I saw another woman challenge the men. Using that terminology, I might have to, but this is nothing but good. Sure, Whaley is not the cream of the LPGA tour, she's not even a regular golfer on tour. What she is, however, is happy.
She shot a +5 on the first round of the tour, and currently she's +6. She's out of contention by about 11 strokes, but she's not stopping. Remember, Annika was over-par at The Colonial, and she didn't make the cut either. However, her story was more media oriented, and that's why more of us Americans are familiar with it. One big difference between the two is that Suzy Whaley earned her spot in the tournament. She played through a qualifying round and won a spot. Not saying that Annika couldn't, but she received a sponsor's exemption, basically meaning a spot was bought for her, because Nike knew they'd make a buttload of money. Whaley is the first woman since 1949 to qualify for a men's tournament.
While we can claim we are no longer sexist, or racist, we all know this to not be true for the whole of the nation. Why is women playing sports alongside men so frightening? I admit, as a man, we have a sense of Manly Pride. We all want to be the best and to dominate at what we do, especially physical activity. But we're long past the period of enlightenment, and a generation past the women's movement and the civil rights movement, shouldn't we have advanced further than this? Wouldn't you want to see Serena Williams take on Andy Roddick, or any other of the men on the tour? Or what about Mia Hamm in the MLS? A healthy Lisa Leslie or Nikki Teasley on the Los Angeles Lakers instead of the Los Angeles Sparks?
The influx of African-American and Latino players into Major League Baseball have only made it more exciting to watch. Imagine Baseball without Alfonso Soriano, or Barry Bonds, Willie Mays, Sammy Sosa, Larry Doby, Alex Rodriguez or Hammerin Hank Aaron. Imagine the NBA without Shaq, Robert Parrish, Dr. J Julius Earving, Wilt Chamberlain or Michael Jordan. Even imagine golf without Tiger Woods. They'd be bland compared to the richness that they currently have.
Let women play. Let them know that they can compete and push for them to succeed. I wouldn't mind seeing a woman bat for the Boston Red Sox, as long as she can make contact and get to first before the ball does, what else do you need? Big deals need to be made of this little events so social stigmas can be deterred. Women are, afterall, human too.