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Last Updated: Wednesday, 27 April, 2005, 11:40 GMT 12:40 UK
Opinion divided on women in The Open

Michelle Wie
Golf fans on the Five Live message boards have been debating the decision by the organisers of The Open Championship to allow women to try and enter the tournament.

Organisers have agreed for the first time to allow women to participate at St Andrews this year if they qualify through the normal channels.

And American teenager Michelle Wie could become the first woman to qualify.

Here is a selection of the views that Five Live users have posted on the subject.

FOR WOMEN AT THE OPEN CHAMPIONSHIP

It's not beyond someone like Miss Wie to get close to winning a men's event or a major in 10 years if you think of her in terms of the likes of Larry Mize or Corey Pavin, I bet she's much longer off the tee than they were in their heyday and they both won majors.
Victor

Anyone who is good enough to qualify for the men's tour should be allowed to do so. If a woman proves she is good enough to compete in a particular event or events alongside the men by qualifying as of right, then she should be allowed to compete with them.
Iain M

Why shouldn't women be allowed to qualify if they're good enough? The Open has changed many times over the years when there was previously "nothing wrong". Change and evolution are natural.
JC

So why not allow them to enter? It cannot do any harm
Doctor
It is called The Open. I agree that whatever sex the player is, if they have qualified in the correct manner then they should be allowed to tee it up. If she did play and shoot two 78s or even better, I would bet there would be young girls/ladies out there watching that might give the sport a go. I for one would not mind if she played.
swindoncairo

Speaking as a woman (with little interest in golf), provided women are given no advantage and qualify through the accepted routes, there should be no reason why they should not compete with men.
Tam

I think the top competitions should be open to the top 50 players, that's not the top 50 men or the top 50 women. I say let them play! At the end of the day everyone has to qualify, so if they qualify then they deserve to play.
Mr Anderson

If Michelle Wie or Annika Sorenstam qualifies for The Open at St Andrews or Hoylake next year, then this move will have come just in time. If no woman qualifies in the next 200 years, nothing will have been lost as long as no exemptions or categories are made for women only until they regularly qualify. So why not allow them to enter? It can not do any harm.
Doctor

I think it's fine if a woman qualifies through a tournament where she competes against men. Then she would deserve to be in the field. What I disagree with is sponsors' invites to top women to generate publicity at the expense of men players struggling to make a living.
Disaster 4 Scotland

Provided a woman qualifies on merit (not as a publicity stunt) then they should be able to play
Darlo Scot
No problem at all. Indeed I would go further and put ladies' tees at St Andrews. Golf is one of the few potentially unisex sports but there are hardly ever any mixed events even in recreational golf. We need to move on from separate ladies' sections at clubs and separate tournaments. So integrated tournaments, ladies' tees and genuine competition between the best women and the best men.
Paddy Briggs

Provided a woman qualifies on merit (not as a publicity stunt) then they should be able to play. But it must be under the same rules and off the same tees etc. The "men's" tour could be rebranded as the "open" tour, where the best of the best compete.
Darlo Scot

I don't mind if women try to qualify for The Open because I find it difficult to believe any will qualify for many years, never mind actually win the competition. The qualifying is extremely difficult and many established pro's can't get into the great competition.
Topper McBain

I think we should wait until after the results of the qualifying tournaments before we get too excited about it all, especially before we start worrying about the 'poor' male golfers being denied a living by all these privileged women taking their positions!
jacwho

AGAINST WOMEN AT THE OPEN CHAMPIONSHIP

My opinion is that if a woman qualifies by beating men in the qualifying stages, then fair enough, let her play. But then no woman golfer on earth could beat any of the best men in the world. I think considering it is professional golf, and competitive golf, it seems pointless for a woman to take part, as she would never be able to win the thing.
Vince Brutal

It's a terrible idea. The only good thing to come out of this 'novelty' exercise is that it helps promote the women's game and the women's tour, which is a good thing.
Miles ahead

I think unisex tournaments would be silly
McTyke
Unless the women start lengthening the courses they play off, no female will get near to beating men, especially with the standard currently in the men's game. The strength in depth just isn't there for them to possibly compete on a level footing with the men.
NHan

It will create a bit extra media hype but not a good idea long-term. As others have said, what's to stop a journeyman pro at the bottom of the money list on the European Tour entering women's tournaments? Might not be dignified but would pay the bills! However, as long as it's through qualifying then I suppose it's on merit.
ovalyellow

I think unisex tournaments would be silly. Once you let women into what once were men's tournaments then surely it becomes impossible to prevent men from entering women's tournaments. So we would end up with 'unisex' tournaments even if this wasn't the intention. Why should golf step out of line with almost every other sport?
McTyke

I think maybe if the payouts for winning the women's tournaments were level with the men's, perhaps women wouldn't feel the need to compete with the men? They'd then be better off winning their own tournaments than losing in the men's? At the end of the day, it's all down to the audience and what they are prepared to pay to watch.
N Jones

If women want a fair crack at the men's tournaments, then why not take it a little slower to begin with. Can I suggest a competition at the end of the American season whereby the top ten from both gender's championships play against each other over maybe five matches.
GLTB

I find it absolutely insulting that female golfers get in by the fast track
Sam Jackson
Women have the LPGA so why do they need to invade the men's game (I am a woman too). I think it's unfair that women like Michelle Wie get a place when there could be a great male amateur golfer who could use the exemption and is not given a chance because of her celebrity status.
ALN1 Nolan

There are many men golfers out there who are much better than the top lady golfers like Wie, Sorenstam, etc, but are never given the opportunity to play at The Open because they didn't made it through qualification. So I find it absolutely insulting that female golfers get in by the fast track and deprive these men their honour, their rights and their money.
Sam Jackson

I fiercely object to this. Professional golfers make money from playing golf. There are a finite number of competitors allowed into any tournament and by allowing women to play in a men's event and not vice versa, you are taking a money earning opportunity away from a male professional. By all means re-jig the whole system, make one tour - but this type of piecemeal solution to appease the PC beast is not the answer.
The dude

I am a female and I think it is a nonsense. What is the compulsion of some of these women to play on the men's tour? If they are to play, let them qualify with those men who are looking for a place by playing on the other allotted courses that the men have to play to qualify. If they come through, then they have won the right to play. There should not be any invitations.
Mary M O Sullivan




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