Alright, bandwagoners. I have some Facebook fodder for your entertainment.
In the last week, I’ve spent an exorbitant amount of time defending golfers. First with my call to leave Jordan alone and yesterday with a rather lengthy campaign in defense of Paige Spiranac.
Before we go further, let me be clear – I don’t particularly care for Paige. Sure, she’s pretty. And sure, she can post scores that make mine run and hide. But I certainly wouldn’t call myself a fan.
That said, when I see posts like this, it’s hard not to jump to her defense:
Some background – Golf Digest shared this video from Paige’s Instagram to their Facebook. In the process, they misspelled her last name, but that’s an entirely different rant.
So this gent – Pete – decided to go out of his way to rip on a person whom he’s never met, completely out of the post’s context. Of the commenters, he was the only one who’d taken issue with her existence, but he did so rather rudely. So naturally, I couldn’t stay out of it.
An interjection at this point – I’m a firm believer that everyone is entitled to their own opinion and frankly, just the use of proper grammar puts this guy in a category far and above what you usually find when you stumble into a comments section.
There are a few things wrong with this (and this isn’t even the entire interaction). I realize I’m fighting a losing battle because the internet is a terrible place. People grow some massive cajones behind a keyboard. But let’s pretend for a second that the things you say actually have an impact on the attitude toward the sport.
Annihilating a young woman because she hasn’t made a cut – even though she’s a rookie and has had only one chance – and then insinuating that her existence and internet relevance is a slight to other female golfers is a stretch. One that both proves the intolerance of the golf community and also pushes potential new members of that community away. The loudest people are often the unelected representatives of a community, and this man was the top comment on an article shared to an audience of 355,000 people.
But alas, he wasn’t alone. A few other men jumped in to harangue both me and Spiranac.
Another interjection – At no point have I defended this woman’s ability on the LPGA circuit. Read and reread this interaction, but nowhere am I saying she can put up against Wie or Thompson, or that she even deserves the attention she’s getting at this point in her career. That isn’t the argument – but Pete seemingly doesn’t have a counterpoint to the actual argument, so he’s beating a dead horse with a stick that I never tossed to him.
This is where things took a weird turn. By simply stating facts (that other golfers have missed cuts), I’m not inherently putting Paige in the same skill category. Apples are not identical to oranges, but they are, in fact, fruit. She is a golfer – they are golfers. She missed a cut. They’ve missed cuts. There are comparisons to be drawn without screaming to the golf world that Spiranac is the next best thing since Patty Berg.
My favorite thing about this section is Pete’s apples and oranges comparison between Paige and global politics – as if I’m taking it far too seriously even though he’s the one who went out of his way to be offended by a Facebook post mentioning her name. But, of course, no one takes notice of the hypocrisy. Someone does call him a “sloppy turd” though, and I thought that was worth a mention.
At this point, I haven’t the slightest idea why I’m still engaged in this conversation, but I’ve started this and by God, I’m going to finish it. Or maybe I’ll turn off the Facebook notifications and pretend that it was finished long ago. We’ll see what happens.
But I felt some weird need to keep defending this person I don’t even care for because the way she’s treated in the community is appalling. She’s either a piece of meat (which, admittedly, is perpetuated by her up-skirt videos and glamour shots on Instagram) or she’s a worthless fraud. Even though – and let’s be realistic here – she’s closer to being a pro golfer than anyone who’s bitching about her on social media.
Yes, she missed the cut at the Dubai Ladies Masters. So did 40 other women. Cheyenne Woods, niece of that other Woods golfer, wasn’t ready for her debut either, but has silenced many of the critics who cried foul when she was first getting sponsor’s exemptions. We won’t know what Spiranac can do until we let her do it. The golf community needs to #dobetter by the people who love the game enough to give it a try in the face of criticism. And besides, last time I checked, even a golfer famous for her face is still a famous golfer.
Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Pete’s parting shot:
Good one, Pete. I’m glad we had this talk.
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