Calls for feminism on the golf course

Calls for feminism on the golf course

At 47 years old, Tiger Woods has become a household name in sports after he won 15 major golf championships spanning from the late 1990s to the early 2000s. However, he has recently brought attention to the golf world for the wrong reasons, inciting a controversy after his actions at the Genesis Invitational in February. After outdriving (hitting the ball further than) his playing partner, Justin Thomas, on the ninth hole, he handed his opponent a feminine product as a friendly insult. Many women in sports, though, did not find this prank to be as harmless as intended. 

“I do not believe Tiger Woods intended for it to be sexist. I think it was just a friendly joke between two men in competition,” Ben Mixon, senior, said.  

Woods’s punchline was to call Thomas a girl for not being able to hit the ball as far as he did, hence the feminine product. He received much backlash on social media and from many women in sports such as the England Women’s Soccer Team’s Manager, Sarina Weigman, and sports publication “USA Today’s For The Win” Managing Editor, Alex McDaniel. Meanwhile, female golfer Suzann Petterson stated that she found Wood’s actions to be mostly inoffensive, comparing it to a “boyish joke.” 

“It was supposed to be all fun and games, and obviously it has not turned out that way. If I offended anybody, it was not the case, it was just friends having fun. As I said, if I offended anybody in any way, shape, or form, I am sorry. It was not intended to be that way. It was just we play pranks on one another all the time, and virally, I think this did not come across that way, but between us, it was – it is different,” Woods told reporters at CNN 

Woods has since apologized, but the media is reluctant to forgive him, especially as National Women’s History Month began on March 1. Golf has long since been considered only a sport for the male elitist, and the few women in high society who played were not taken seriously. The first women’s golf club was formed in 1861; however, there were no official competitions held for female golfers until the 1900s. Though many opportunities have since opened for women on the golf course and in sports in general, golf is still a mostly male-dominated activity, making Wood’s joke all the more offensive.  

“I believe the action was sexist, not only due to Tiger Woods calling his opponent a girl by throwing a tampon at him but because of the ‘why.’ He played the joke on his opponent after he was not able to hit the ball as far as Woods could. Calling him a girl by throwing the tampon at him afterwards was equal to calling him weak or inferior. Tampons and other items associated with women should not be used as insults. Girls are strong, especially for the pain they endure, which makes feminine products necessary every month,” Aubrey Lee, sophomore, said.  

Whether it is viewed as a careless act of sexism, or an uneducated and distasteful joke, times are changing when it comes to evening the playing field for men and women in sports. Going forth into Women’s History Month, it would be wise to reevaluate using the female gender as an insult, especially when women have had to fight just to receive the same respect as men when they have always been of equal capability.