Pitching, Putting, Politics

Politics Influence Women’s Golf

An Update on Moving the Women’s U.S. Open

I thought that we were done with this subject the last time  I commented on it. It’s really only worth one page of commentary, not two, but as things seem to do in an American election year, the story has evolved, at least a bit. The backdrop is the same. Donald Trump is running for president, owns a dozen or more golf courses, most of them very good ones, and has experienced a little trouble lately with his treatment of women. In the middle is the Ladies Professional Golf Association, a going organization hitting on all cylinders, and ready to play its U.S. Women’s Open on a Trump course in New Jersey in just a few months. The question for some people seems to be, should it be moved due to a case of snagged politics?

trump-golfIt’s not an easy question to answer, as all sides want something different, and in an election year, all sides want a bunch of somethings…right now, or at least before the polls open on Nov. 8. Trump owns golf courses. He invested heavily in them, and wants them to be international showpieces – no problem. That includes putting prestigious golf tournaments on his south forty. No harm, no foul there, either. The opposition party wants to put a damper on the Donald in any way that they can, especially in the next two weeks, so three United States Senators, all Democrats have suddenly raised the question of impropriety by playing a woman’s tournament on a woman-insulter’s course. Martha Burk of the Hiuffington Post has made the same request in a case of her left paper supporting her left candidate.. Again, no problem. That’s politics.
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What does Michael Whan and his players want? By enlarge, they want to play golf and set politics aside while they do it. Only one player, Jodi Ewart Shadoff of England thought it might be a good idea to move the event. The others are still pursuing, as Whan tells it, “great venues…big crowds…big TV.” It sounds to me as if everyone is in pursuit of their happiness, to put it in a Jeffersonian tone. Trump is doing business, the LPGA is playing golf separately from politics, and politicians are trying to defeat their opposing candidate.

When I was very young, any old windmill would do, and I would become livid at anyone who didn’t do the Don Quixote thing right along with me. Everyone was sacrificing their principles except for me. Practical considerations were tantamount to surrender of ethics. To not charge the issue was to live life as it is, not as it should be. I still believe in that all these years later, but I’m ready to accept that not everyone’s agenda is the same as mine, or less important than mine. As i mentioned a week or two back, decisions like this could drive personal wedges between players and infest a great, friendly game with the rancor that only politics can provide – the same way it’s doing with families getting together for holidays. It also occurred to me that not all of these players are American, and not everyone cares equally about what’s going on in Washington next year. The LPGA is an international organization now.

Then there are contracts. Michael Whan signed on to be good for his people, not to lead them into the promised land of good will toward all men and women, taking no prisoners. Disrespect and unfriendliness are sad components of life, and they can be worked on, but not while holding a three-iron staring at an 18th green that represents next month’s rent. I’m anything but a Donald fan, but I think that this time around, I’ll let that windmill spin a little longer, and think of the game as a blessed rest from politics, no matter who owns the course.

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