GREG NORMAN DOESN'T WANT TO PLAY WITH THE GIRLS. (EXCEPT HIS MOTHER, APPARENTLY.)


Greg Norman says men's tours should consider changing their bylaws to prevent women (or 14-year-old girls?) from receiving sponsor's exemptions.

"But I think the rightful place is that women play on their tour and we play on ours. It all started with Annika to promote herself and promote women's golf, but at the end of the day, it can be very detrimental," Norman said in an Associated Press article.

What does the Writers' Bloc say?

The Shark bites | From Robert Lipsyte

Lipsyte is kind of worked up about Greg Norman's comments.

I think they should be considered seriously.

Seriously.

Not that they are necessarily right or wrong (there is no right or wrong, Neo, only what you need to hear at the moment) but that they do represent a line of thinking and feeling that is hard-wired into the species. While I think the Mars-Venus construct is merchandising crap, I do know that men and women are different, physically, emotionally, and that they approach many aspects of life differently.

Except in intimate and totally trusting situations, men and women tend to be more comfortable with their own gender.

When it comes to sports competitions, for better or worse, men have been conditioned to believe that they will be emasculated by a woman's victory. This is not sexist nonsense because men do feel that way. In a better world, if men and women really grew up together and played together, they wouldn't feel that way (and there would also be far less rape and abuse.)

Women need sports for the same reason men do -- joy, health, fitness, self-esteem, etc. Women playing against women is best for most (not all) women; obviously, there will be women who can beat men, and should get the chance.

So -- how do we give them the chance without making this the kind of marketing scheme as sleazy in its way as a Timberlake Snatch and Jerk? And, far more important, how do make sure that women, from peewee to WUSA, get the same opportunities as men?

Norman is a famous whiner, but what he has to say is worth using as a jumping off place.

Just say it, Greg | From Chuck Hirshberg

Maybe you're right, Lip. Maybe the need for sexually segregated pro golf tours is "hardwired into the species." On the other hand, maybe Greg Norman is just an insecure weenie. Seriously.

President Clinton, Greg Norman
Now, playing with ex-Presidents you know you can beat .. that's the way it should be.

I understand what you're saying, I think. And if Norman had come right out with it and said, "I don't want to play the tour with women, because I'm afraid I'll lose and feel emasculated," I'd have a little respect for him. (Not much; a little.) But the poor guy is already too emasculated to say what he actually means. Instead he hides behind a totally phony concern for "the girls," to wit: "If the girls come out and think they can play against the guys and fail every time, that can't be very positive."

No right or wrong, Lip? OK then, Greg's not wrong; he's lying. The truth is always positive. And if the truth turns out to be that golf cannot be truly mastered without a penis, then let us have the truth, out in the open where we can see it.

But I don't believe it. Fact is, pro golfers (and this means you, Greg Norman, despite your ever-so-macho hats) have never struck me as terribly studly.

Not compared to truly great male athletes, like, oh, Greg Louganis or Brian Boitano. And I have a suspicion that Michelle Wie, and a whole generation of female golfers she is about to inspire, will eventually prove that "girls" don't have to "fail every time." The healthiest thing that can happen now, for both chicks and dudes, is to just let the co-ed golf balls fly, as quickly as possible. That way, morons like Greg Norman will realize that losing to "the girls" won't reduce his sperm count by one widdle fishie. Trust me! I'm 43, I've been losing to "the girls" all my life and I'm the one guys come to for advice about "male enhancement." (See yesterday's entry.)

Marketing ploy? Of course! | From Patrick Hruby

Any man who feels "emasculated" because a 14-year-old girl whupped his heine on the links needs to get over himself, the same way certain members of the Tennessee Titans need to get over losing to an "inferior" New England Patriots squad.

Oh, and that goes double for men who own parking garage-sized yachts and have enough cash to fill a similarly proportioned bank vault.

Look, I'm all for an unhealthy level of inflated self-esteem. That's what they're teaching our no-parent, TV-addled kids in the schools these days, right? Still, I think the no-ladies-allowed gang is missing two essential points:

1) It's just golf. Tie your sense of self-worth into a masochistic game designed by a Scotsman and your ego's gonna get pummeled, whether Michelle Wie punks you or not.

2) Yes, exemptions given to women are brazen marketing ploys. Then again, so is the entire PGA Tour -- and all of pro sports, for that matter. They exist because someone somewhere is willing to pay to watch it. Or does Norman really think he's skippering the Queen Mary III just because he's really, really good at hitting a little white ball into a groundhog hole?

In a way, that brings me to Lipsyte's big question: How do we make sure that women have the same sports opportunities as men? Easy. Turn on an LPGA event. Start buying WNBA jerseys. If the audience comes, you build a league. If they don't, you're the WUSA. Tough break. Male lacrosse players hardly have the same opportunities as male basketball players. The former carved out a niche in the sprawling sports marketplace; the latter found a giant segment. Either way, no one raises a peep. Free to succeed, free to fail. To me, that's true equality of opportunity.

The girl vs. boys | From Steve Wulf

I have been coaching my four children's Little League teams for 15 years now. Last year was the first time, though, that I actually won a championship, and it was because of our two pitchers, a 9-year-old right-hander and an 8-year-old left-hander, who combined for a no-hitter, a one-hitter, a three-hitter and a four-hitter in the playoffs. The left-hander was one of my daughters.

Over the course of the season, I had observed the reactions of the boys she had faced and often struck out. Those who knew her from hockey and soccer -- which she also played with boys -- and the school playground had no problem with it. Those who saw her only as a girl would sometimes get upset, cry even. After one baseball game early in the season, we had pizza with one of her hockey teammates, whose team she had just beaten. "When you came into pitch," he told her, "the guys on my team got very excited because they would be hitting against a girl. I tried to tell them, 'Wait, this is a very athletic girl.'"

I like her world better than mine. Hers is a meritocracy that's not divided by gender. Her presence on the All-Star baseball team or the travel hockey team doesn't threaten anyone's masculinity & yet. Sooner or later, some Greg Norman character will tell her she has to play softball and girls' hockey and push her into my world.

I just hope she remembers the time when the dividing line wasn't between girls and boys, but between those who knew and those who didn't.

Bylaws won't matter | From Eric Neel

I think what amuses and amazes me most about Norman's comments is the idea that he or anyone else can stem the tide by rewording some bylaws. The girls I know and the girl I'm raising (truth be told, she's raising me) say, "Bylaws? We don't need no stinkin' bylaws!" about any and everything.

Wulf's girls are emboldened to make a new world by the athletes (women and men) who've come before them, and my little one and her compadres are coming fast on their heels, just sure that the field is theirs for the taking. Sure, there'll be setbacks, but from where I'm sitting, Greg and his bylaws ain't no match for the energy, self-confidence, and skill they're bringing.