Late June and early July offered a successful few weeks for Canadian players at the highest development rungs that offer the next step to the tours that have been their respective goals throughout their careers.
Roger Sloan of Merritt, B.C., was the latest, winning the inaugural Nova Scotia Open and he’s now the second Canadian in good shape to get his PGA Tour card through the top 25 on the Web .com Tour money list, but wait a minute.
Adam Hadwin’s win at the Chile Classic came in early March, so who else won in the past few weeks as we said above?
If you’re having trouble answering that, you’ve quickly reached the point of this blog. Nicole Vandermade of Brantford, Ont., won the Four Winds Invitational on the Symetra Tour and is on the bubble, 10th on that circuit’s money list, to move on to the LPGA Tour next year.
You can read more about her breakthrough win here and here. It was the second victory by a Canadian on the Symetra Tour after Hamilton’s Alena Sharp won that season-opening Visit Mesa Gateway Classic near Phoenix. You can read about that one here.
Sharp is already playing regularly on the LPGA Tour, but as of right now, we have three Canadians in good shape to take that next big step in their careers to the big tours and chances are, you heard more about Sloan’s and Hadwin’s wins than you did about Vandermade’s victory.
It was certainly mentioned on golf-specific websites, but in mainstream media, Vandermade’s win came mostly through six-point results, if at all.
That was in direct contrast to the triumphs of Sloan and Hadwin, who chatted with media through teleconferences arranged by the SportBox Group, which represents both players. Vandermade simply carried on with little fanfare.
Little fanfare, at least by comparison, is par for the course in women’s golf, even at majors. Ask yourself if you took the same interest in the just-concluded Women’s British Open as you will with this week’s Open Championship.
Mind you, Mo Martin may have forced you to pay attention with her remarkable win at the Women’s Open, highlighted by her eagle on the 18th hole at Royal Birkdale, set up by an incredible three wood shot that just as easily could have been an albatross.
It’s tough to ignore one of the greatest shots in major play, just as it’s difficult to not notice Michelle Wie’s breakthrough win at the U.S. Women’s Open, where 16-year-old Canadian Brooke Henderson was low amateur with her T10 finish.
A couple of days later, Henderson won a professional event on the Canadian Women’s Tour to continue a remarkable summer thus far and put an exclamation point on some outstanding performances in women’s golf thus far in 2014.
It isn’t inconceivable that Henderson could become Canadian golf’s version of Eugenie Bouchard and people have taken note.
It could be argued that the LPGA Tour has been much more entertaining than the PGA Tour thus far, but comparatively, how much have you seen about it in mainstream media this year? Would you classify it as token coverage?
Would you classify your own attitude towards women’s golf as token and does that apply to your golf business, where hopefully, the attitude is nothing like this that reportedly exists in the home of golf.
The Royal and Ancient Golf Club is to vote in September on whether to admit women into its membership and this story indicates those already in the club want to hang on to the bitter end before the decision is made in the fall. At this point, you have to think women still won’t be welcomed even if the vote is yes to allow females.
The story says a spokesperson for the R&A declined comment.
The one thing that can be said about fools waving their ties in a woman’s face to make a point is that you can identify exactly the orifice in which their brains are located. With tokenism, the attitude is more covert, but usually becomes more obvious as time goes on.
Take the declining participation in golf, factor in that women represent slightly more than half of the population, many of them professionals and others with disposable income, and it would seem to be an attractive demographic.
Many within the golf industry will acknowledge that obvious fact and throw on the happy face on in the hopes of filling some empty tee times or bringing in more women for lessons or pro shop purchases.
A poor attempt to appease women will only go so far. What they offer specifically for women will determine long term success for the operation and, on a wider scale, the game itself.