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Thursday, August 22, 2013

Golf Channel, Take Your Feet From Off Our Necks!

I don't ask much of the Golf Channel.  I'm a bright person.  I understand that their advertising money comes from viewer ratings, that there are more men than women who golf (by about 3 to 1), and that men are going to prefer watching other men play golf (although the why of this one escapes me); and women, at least some of the women I know, also follow men's pro golf much more enthusiastically and closely than they do women's pro golf.  I get all that.

But when the Golf Channel advertises, on the LPGA web site as well as in my local cable channel roll-by- that it's going to cover the CN Canadian Women's Open from 6-8pm Eastern Time, I actually expect them to do just that.  I arrange my early evening around that commitment.  I plan to eat my supper in front of the television.  I tell the parrots they must manage without me for a couple of hours.

I'm here to tell you that the Golf Channel lies.  It is not broadcasting highlights from today's 1st round at the CN Canadian Women's Open, where a little teenager from New Zealand named Lydia Ko won last year and, as defending champ, is tied with Angela Stanford for the lead after the first round at 5 shots under par.  How do I know this? I've been snatching peeks at the LPGA web site all day, waiting for this 2-hour window.

So what is the Golf Channel broadcasting?  Well, I'm sure you're surprised to learn that it's a post-round interview with the infamous, talent-challenged Tiger Woods, followed by highlights of his day's play.  He's not leading.  (Nothing new there.) What's this about?

It's about money, plain and simple.  Even after all his stumbles, trips, and embarrassing personal falls from grace, sabbatical from pro golf while he tried to get his personal life rebalanced, the amusingly pathetic display of his skier girlfriend holding his son at a golf tournament, his eruptive language, his inability to reclaim through play the game he once had -- even after all that, he gets time on the Golf Channel that's already been allocated to the Canadian Women's Open because giving him air time is good business.  Indeed.

I'm increasingly offended by conversations about the LPGA that focus on what's wrong with the organization, how women's pro golf is failing, how the Tour's near collapse.  And I'm reminded of a simple, straightforward demand Sarah Grimke made in the 1830s as she responded to the General Association of the Ministers of Massachusetts, who had taken a public stand against women speaking in public.

What do women want? the Association asked Ms. Grimke.

Grimke wrote, I ask no favors for my sex.  I surrender not our claim to equality.  All I ask of our bretheren is that they will take their feet from off our necks, and permit us to stand upright on the ground which God has designed us to occupy . . .

Golf Channel, take your feet from off our necks and stick to your advertised schedule!  Where is Mary Queen of Scots when I need her?  She wouldn't have put up with this situation for a single heartbeat!