Battle of sexes mars Golf

The participation of the ladies number one golfer Annika Sorenstam in a men's event, is causing a huge storm in the world of golf.

Updated: February 25, 2007 09:48 IST
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New Delhi:Women and golf seem to have been involved in several controversies lately. First it was the Augusta National Golf Club, which refused to admit women members despite intense protests. And now it is the participation of the ladies number one golfer Annika Sorenstam in a men's event, which is causing a huge storm. Former Masters Champions Vijay SIngh went as far as to say that Annika had no business playing with the men. However, he did issue a half-hearted apology today, saying that he didn't mean to make a personal attack. "I am surprised the way it came out. It was no attack on Annika and if it was - it wasn't put that way. I actually said about her missing the cut was: if I miss the cut I'd rather she missed the cut as well. I hope she missed the cut because I don't want to look back and have a woman beat me. But it wasn't written that way," said Singh. "But, this is a man's tour. There are guys out there trying to make a living. It's not a ladies' tour. If she wants to play, she should - or any other woman for that matter - if they want to play the man's tour, they should qualify and play like everybody else," added Singh. Vijay and other golfers insist they are not really scared of being beaten by a woman, but that participating in any tournament should be merit based. "Well I have the greatest respect for Annika. She possibly could be the best lady golfer that ever lived. But I personally, in my opinion, think she's doing the wrong thing going to play in a man's tournament," said Gary Player, former pro-golfer. "Is she trying to hurt the LPGA Tour? I mean if she goes out there and does well, that's fine, but if she doesn't do well than that comparison of men to ladies is really going to hurt the LPGA, so I think she has nothing to gain, but to each their own. I mean I couldn't give a rat's tail if she comes out there. If she thinks she can compete with us then bring out there and we'll prove to her that maybe she can't," said Fuzzy Zoeller, professional golfer. "If she had qualified and proved herself, just like everyone else has to, then that's fine. But I'm not a big believer in that," said Nick Price, former British Open Champ. Annika, the winner of 13 golf tournament last year, hasn't commented on the controversy. By playing the colonial, the Swede will be the first woman in 58 years to play in on the PGA tour. Tiger Woods doesn't have any problems with that, but he also had a word of caution. "I think it's great that she's playing, but it will only be great for women's golf if she plays well. I think if she goes out there and puts up two high scores than I think it will be more detrimental than it will do any good," said Woods. Annika has a total of 43 titles, she holds 20 LPGA records and has been the player of the year five times more than even Woods. Whatever her performance in the Colonial, which starts on the May 19, one way or another, Annika has made a huge splash in the world of golf.

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