Who would have thought that golf would ever be on the cutting edge of anything except, perhaps, tedium for viewers and frustration for casual players? But today golf finds itself on the cutting edge of gender equity in sports. Women golfers such as Michelle Wie and Anika Sorenstam, created a stir with their efforts to play in men’s events, but now, in a sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander move, Jean Van De Velde has announced his intention to attempt to play in the Women’s British Open.
I have long held that the divide between men’s and women’s sports is wrong. This sporting apartheid, with all the attendant baggage of separate but equal, diminishes the accomplishments of the true leaders in any sport and hinders the development of championship caliber women athletes. Sports is one of the few pure meritocracies in the world and we should demand that it stay that way.
Women’s sports will one day be considered as discriminatory as Baseball’s Negro Leagues and we’ll wonder why so many great athletes were forced to labor in obscurity. Anything that hastens the day when there is only sports, with no gender division, is welcome. So to Jean Van De Velde I send a hearty, “You go girl.”