Free Annika Sorenstam Plays on PGA tour Essay Sample
There are many things in this world that have been naturalized but because of the taken-for-granted, common sense culture, they are never looked at. There are many things that happen in everyday life that reveal subtleties about what culture upholds and values. The game of golf has not been left out on this one, for it contains many naturalized phenomena hidden from examination and representative of a larger social class. This paper is going to analyze newspapers coverage of Annika Sorenstam's play on PGA tour.
Annika Sorenstam's Evolution in Female Athletes' Aspirations
For many years the game of golf has been identified with men or at least they are the one's who are always in the lime light but not women. That's why when the world's top female golfer, Annika Sorenstam declared her interest to play in the PGA, men's tour; it was seen as an evolution in female athletes' aspirations. This saw this event receive a lot of publicity from the media. And as one news paper reporter from the New York Times reported, women are no longer simply content with an opportunity to compete, something that was cherished some decades ago during the times of Babe Zaharias. Just like Annika, Babe beat men at their own game during the then days. It is said that she was naturally good at everything; she tried her hand at baseball, diving, basketball, track and field, and even bowling and pool. These made Grantland Rice, a sports writer say that "Babe is without any question the athletic phenomenon of all time, man or woman" (McGrath 1996). Her greatest success came with the game of golfer when it is recorded that she won 17 straight amateur victories, a feat that has not been challenged even by the best golfing man, Tiger Woods. When she turned pro, she won 33 tournaments that included ten majors. The male chauvinists often accused her of being mannish and a tomboy. She is regarded as the most valuable player, a woman who excelled in a game regarded as men's. She also enjoyed adequate media coverage, at least just enough for the time, as golf was not that known to the world (McGrath, 1996).
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Just like Babe, Annika has also excelled at this game, the best woman golfer in recent times. She has beaten the odds to emerge among the best golfers beating some of the best men. This was evident at the Colonial tournament where she played in the PGA against the world's best men. And just as men looked down on Babe golfing talent just because she was a woman, Annika also experienced the same treatment from men. Some male competitors could not just accept her as a foe, as one newspaper reports, Vijay Singh was among the PGA tour members who expressed their disapproval over her plans to play against men in the tournament. Being the winner of the 1998 PGA championship and the 2000 masters, Singh threatened to withdraw from the Colonial tournament if he was to be paired with Sorenstam. Just to confirm his low value for women, he said, "I hope she misses the cut". And when asked why he said that, Sing was quoted replying that "because she doesn't belong out here, if I'm drawn with her, which, I won't be, I won't play" (Williams 2003). According to Singh, there was nothing that Sorenstam was to prove by playing, that it was simply ridiculous (Williams, 2003).
Despite the fact that she was the number one ranked woman in golf having 43 career LPGA victories and four major champions, men like Singh still saw her as an amateur when compared to them. Nick Price, the Colonial defending champion also added his voice on the issue by saying Sorenstam should have declined her invitation to compete, that her decision reeks with publicity. A member of the 2002 United States Ryder Cup team, Scott Hoch was also quoted as saying that he wanted Sorenstam to play well in the Colonial tournament just for him to prove a point. That if Sorenstam plays well and still comes way back in the pack, then that will demonstrate just how much separation exists between men and the ladies. Even Tiger Woods was not left out on this; he questioned the wisdom of Sorenstam to play in that tournament. He said that Sorenstam could just damage women's golf if she did not measure up to the expectations. But Singh was the outspoken man, he said that he appreciated that Sorenstam was the best woman golfer in the world, but the fact remained that she was a woman, that men had their tour as men and women also had theirs as women. These were some of the issues that surrounded the colonial tournament making it receive major attention from the media (Sandomir, 2003).
It is not just Zaharias and Sorenstam who were women golfers. Another woman whose golf playing can be compared to that of Sorenstam was Patty Berg. Just like Zaharias and Sorenstam, she also beat all the odds and excelled in playing golf. She showed the world that women can also do well in golf just like men. She was the winner of a record fifteen women's major championships. She was the founder of the Ladies Professional Golf Association and its first president. She won a total of 60 professional and 28 amateur tournaments, at one time in her career; she was the leading money winner on the LPGA for three consecutive times and a Vare Trophy winner for the lowest average score during the season of that tour. She was also inducted into the LPGA Tour and World Golf halls of fame and voted as the female athlete of the year by the Associated Press I 1938, 1943, and 1955. She went out of her way to promote women golfing by holding many clinics although it is recorded that there are times when her efforts were shadowed by Zaharias, who was also her friend. Just like Sorenstam, Patty was also considered as the finest female golfer of her time; she had mastered the game and played it with precision, not caring what men considered her to be. Records show that she was also good at many sport disciplines, she played football when still young, and she was also a speed skater. She quit these other games and dedicated her time to golf winning her first championship at the age of sixteen. She retired from golf after many accomplishments. In 1996 she confessed that a lot had changed when she saw many women golfers when she attended the US Women's Open at Southern Pines, NC where Annika won. The only difference between this two was that during Patty's time, men did not look upon her; they encouraged her to keep on playing. It is recorded that it was Zaharias' husband who necessitated her election to the LPGA presidency. The media also did not bias in their coverage of the various events she participated in (Goldstein, 2006).
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Women's Achievements in Golf
It is these achievements that can't simply be ignored; they show that women also excel in any sport that men excel. This was proved by Sorenstam when she played in Colonial tournament that was famously known to be for men. That was the reason why media followed the progress of the tournament with keen interest. It was not because Tiger Woods was there, but because Sorenstam, a woman was to play with men. The actual game was emotional, stressful, but according to Sorenstam, the game was enjoyable. She missed the cut, but despite that, she said that she will forever savor the experience. This is no more truth than that one; she had made history for becoming the first woman to play on men's tour since Babe played last in 1945. She proved to the world that women could also do it well just like men if allowed because she managed to finish ahead of eleven players among them, past PGA tour winners. This tour received much attention thanks to her presence there, not just as a golf player, but the only female golf player among men. Many fans turned out just to see how she played, she herself acknowledged that even at times she felt she was losing it, fans kept on cheering her to keep up the fight (Brown, 2003).
Her historic performance at the Colonial tournament brought back memories of the past female golfers, rekindled the hope that women golfers will one day be treated on the same platform as men. This event sent ripples all over the golf world making tournament directors to wish that another one could be organized in future. Annika's success has definitely changed the way women's golf is played, viewed and covered by the media. Her rise to mainstream celebrity and athlete has had a positive impact on all sports involving women. Men also changed their views on female golfers, and others who are still behind, the likes of Singh, should embrace the present where individuals are encouraged to exploit their talents regardless of their gender, regardless of their class, race religion, and ethnicity (Anderson, 2003).