Swopes decides to play men's event instead

Updated: July 18, 2004, 4:43 PM ET
Associated Press

FORT WAYNE, Ind. -- A golfer who was born a hermaphrodite was banned from a woman's tournament because her birth certificate lists her gender as male.

Instead, 40-year-old Danielle Swope will play in Saturday's qualifier for the Fort Wayne Men's City Tournament.

"I have respect for the men for at least giving me the opportunity to play. The women I don't have any respect for," Swope said in The Journal Gazette on Sunday.

Swope said she was born in Meridian, Miss., with both male and female reproductive organs and underwent gender-reassignment operations to become completely female.

But her Mississippi birth certificate states she was born male. The Fort Wayne Women's Golf Association said that was why Swope could not play in the Women's City Golf Tournament. Swope, who took up golf about two years ago, also was barred from last year's tournament.

"I feel sorry for her all around," said Linda Franze, president of the Fort Wayne Women's Golf Association. "I can't imagine what she's going through. But there are rules and they apply to all of us."

The LPGA Tour, U.S. Golf Association and the Ladies European Tour have policies that players must be female at birth. The Indiana PGA and the Indiana Women's Golf Association adopted similar rules last fall after Swope entered the Indiana Women's Open.

Swope, 5-foot-4 and 160 pounds, said she was raised a boy but underwent a series of operations from 1995-97 to make her completely female. She legally changed her name from Daniel Swope to Danielle Swope in 1996.


Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press