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Unisex Golf Tournaments?

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Another gender bias lawsuit, this time by a female golfer in Massachusetts who insists on competing in men’s competitive golf events.  In Cape Cod, Massachusetts a Nor’easter is brewing and it looks as if the Town of Dennis will be on the receiving end.

Elaine Joyce has filed a discrimination or gender bias lawsuit against the town of Dennis, as well as sibling courses Dennis Pines and Dennis Highlands. Why? She was not allowed to compete in a men’s only tournament. Ms. Joyce is a single digit handicapper and has won numerous women’s amateur events on Cape Cod. No one doubts her abilities. Apparently Joyce has dispatched all same sex competition and seeks to compete on the same field as the men.

According to Joyce, “"The only way to get better is to practice, practice, practice, and to play with people better than you, and that’s the men," she said.” Furthermore, Joyce said she wants to play in tournaments with men because “you play against people who are as good as you or better than you if you want to get better. There are no women at my level except one college student (Mary Chamberlain, who defeated Joyce in last year’s club championship) and she doesn’t always play in Dennis.” Why not try out for a few mini tours or even the Duramed Futures Tour? Please help me to better understand this. Have you exhausted all avenues of female golf competition? It leaves one wondering if playing with the guys is really her main objective.

According to Joyce’s attorneys, Laura Studen and Nancy Newark of the firm Burns & Levinson, they cite the town’s “perpetuation of an ‘historic custom’ of offering ‘men only’ golf tournaments that prohibit women from participating.” Her attorneys compare depriving Joyce the right to play in a men’s only golf tournament to “the once ‘historic custom’ of men’s only bars or of whites’ only drinking fountains.” They further allege that practices at Dennis golf courses “perpetuate the social and economic inferiority of women and cannot be rationalized by any legal standard.” I believe these lawyers are reaching a bit here by comparing civil rights with not being allowed to play in a men’s golf tournament; after all, the town offered a women’s only tournament. According to town officials, the policy was changed, but too late for Joyce’s liking, and thus the lawsuit was filed. According to The Daily News Tribune, it appears that Ms. Joyce is suspicious of the town’s claim of adopting current USGA tournament policy. Joyce contends member-member tournaments will include men’s and women’s divisions rather than allowing people of both genders to play with and against each other. Again, what is wrong with separate gender divisions within the same tournament?

The Dennis Golf Advisory Committee voted in October to adopt the Massachusetts Golf Association and United States Golf Association’s non-gender-biased tournament rules.

According to the Daily News Tribune, “at its first meeting following denying Joyce’s request to play in the May 4-5 men’s tournament, the golf advisory committee discussed its gender-based policy. At the time, GAC Chairman Jim Horvath urged adopting the MGA and USGA non-gender based policies, but the committee voted 5-1 against Horvath’s proposal.

Last June, the GAC voted 6-1 in favor of all 2008 member-member and member-guest tournaments having both a men’s and a women’s field. Believing the change should be implemented for fall tournaments, Horvath opposed the vote. At the same meeting he resigned from the golf committee, citing increased work demands. The town’s gender-based policy was not discussed in July, August or September.

On Oct 22, the GAC unanimously voted to adopt USGA entry procedure, rules and regulations for all tournaments starting in 2008.”

Horvath said, “Personally, I’m glad the issue was raised in May because something needed to be done. I also wish that other members of the GAC had gone along with my suggestion [to adopt USGA policy] on May 14 when I brought this up. At the time, I showed members the USGA and MGA tournament entry forms that are non-gender biased.”

Horvath said he is disappointed with Joyce for not attending any GAC meetings and not voicing her displeasure in person. “She or any woman should have the right to play in a men’s tournament as long as they play from the men’s tee markers and by the tournament rules,” he said. “I wish the change had come sooner, but at least it has come.” I wonder if a man would be allowed to enter a women’s tournament and play from the women’s tee markers? It may be only a matter of time before all golf tournaments are unisex.

This lawsuit came six months after Joyce, a member of Dennis golf courses since 2005, was not allowed to play with her father, Patrick Joyce of Dennis, in a men’s member-member golf tournament at Dennis Pines.  One could surely argue on behalf of Ms. Joyce that “if” her father did not have a son, why not allow the daughter to play in the event? Joyce’s lawyers are “seeking in excess of $75,000 have resulted from Joyce’s “humiliation, embarrassment shunning, disenfranchisement and other losses.” In my opinion, this is absurd. Is it about the money, or the right to play golf with men? Asking for monetary damages infers the opposite of what her primary goal was or should be. She is also requesting that the town of Dennis incur all of her legal fees as well.

According to Golf Director Brian Boone, “If Elaine registers in any Dennis tournament and wants to play against men because it raises the level of her game or for whatever reason, she may do that. This change should cover all possibilities.” It sounds like the committee sincerely listened to her concerns and made a change, for some, for the better. If this was Ms. Joyce’s ultimate goal, why clutter up the court docket with such a lawsuit?

It seems that Ms. Joyce is no stranger to these types of legal wranglings. According to the New York Times’ Marcia Chambers, “a decade ago, Joyce succeeded in playing with men on weekends at Bayberry Hill and Bass River, the public courses in nearby Yarmouth.”

In her present complaint, Joyce said the latest experience at Dennis Pines left her feeling “ostracized, marginalized, humiliated, embarrassed and denounced.” She said many men played in tournaments in each town and knew about her previous case in Yarmouth. There, Joyce wanted to become a member of the so-called Forty Thieves men’s group so she could play on weekend mornings and play competitively.

Eventually, the Yarmouth town administrator found that Bayberry Hill and Bass River were subject to the state’s antidiscrimination laws. He told the Forty Thieves to accept her or lose their block of preferential weekend tee times. They reluctantly accepted her into their group rather than loose their preferred block of tee times.

Joyce said she began to feel hostility after she filed the state discrimination complaint. One Saturday, after a match-play club championship, she walked into the clubhouse after the first round. “There were 20 to 25 guys in there,” she said. “And as soon I walked in the door, everything stopped. Boys will be boys, they always have, and they always will. In fact, there will always be that guy in the gallery holding up an “Iron my shirt” sign.  It’s just the boys, you know, being boys.  No one likes a party crasher from any direction, male or female. In fact, I personally would not want to associate with women, or even men for that matter, that were not sincerely welcoming me into their fold.

What will happen when all of the women’s tours are comprised mostly of men who weren’t quite good enough for the Hooter’s Tour? This is already happening in Massachusetts high school sports. In fact, boys are allowed to play girls’ field hockey in Massachusetts. Field hockey has forever changed, it’s a much rougher game now. Many complain about girls getting injured. According to writer Joe Burns of www.wickedlocal.com,  “In 1991, a Chatham boy joined his school’s girls’ field hockey team because there was no boy’s field hockey team. Boys on Cape Cod and in other parts of the country have joined girls’ field hockey teams for the same reason. Their inclusion has caused concerns for league officials and parents. In an undated entry, a Massachusetts parent on the National Youth Sports Safety Foundation Web site voiced concern for the safety of his daughter. She was taken to the hospital after being injured by one of two boys playing on the Sandwich High School girls’ field hockey team. “Why can’t these schools start boys’ teams?” he asked. Well, I highly doubt that these young lads would have tried out for the girl’s team had a boy’s team been in the offering. In contrast, the Town of Dennis does in fact offer women’s only golf events and in my opinion, herein is the difference.

 

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  1. Graeme Lester

    Apr 1, 2008 at 6:06 am

    I believe Ms Joyce might have an over inflated ego and needs to start winning tournaments with all womens field like the Futures Tour and if she is good enough then take her game to the next level namely the LPGA Tour..

  2. Comment by Kim

    Mar 30, 2008 at 9:29 am

    I think Joyce should get over herself. It sounds to me like a case of an over inflated ego. What is wrong with men only tournaments? Why would Joyce even want to compete in a tournament where the men don’t want her. What would happen to the good women golfers if men could start competing and winning all the womens tournaments? It would really wreck competitve golf for women when they could no longer win their tournaments. I am a woman golfer and dearly love the sport. My game isn’t up to the level of competing with most women let alone men, but one things for sure, I would never wish to make everyone else uncomfortable. It’s not good for there game or mine. If Joyce really wants to improve there are plenty of good women to go compete against.

  3. Chris

    Mar 28, 2008 at 2:58 pm

    this is the DUMBEST thing i have ever heard of. she isnt even a scratch player who cant even win her own ladies club championship.
    also dont you think the rest of the women will be upset when all the events are unisex. if i were a woman golfer i would be outraged when i have to compete with the men!

  4. Bob Beher

    Mar 28, 2008 at 2:15 pm

    Let her play, it’s really no big deal till you make it one. If she has an established index then she should be able to play against those with the same, and from the same tees. I think some are threatened by the thought of not being able to behave like they usually do (on a golf course) around a woman. Get over it, it’s 2 or 3 5 hour rounds, you’re not chained to her for the rest of your sheltered life.

  5. Paul

    Mar 28, 2008 at 11:06 am

    I know for a fact that Dennis Pines is a tough course and I have competed in the state four ball at these two courses. I currently have a daughter that plays on her High School boys Hockey team. I do have mixed feeling because they have womens tournaments. The rule for the year should be simple either play play mens golf or you play womens golf not both withn that said I would say give her a chance and if she fails then also plays poorly then she should be rejected on not being a up to mens tournament standards.

    I think she deserves a chance.

    Paul

  6. David

    Mar 27, 2008 at 4:25 pm

    She should have been allowed to play with her father in the tourney. When you discriminate against someone on the basis of sex or race, you better be prepared to pay the consequences. And, they will pay with the bad P.R. and possibly monetarily. In my mind, she didn’t stir things up, the club did. People of equal ability should compete against each other, regardless of sex. We should remember from the 60’s that “separate but equal” does not work. This is no different. I would imagine that most people of lesser golfing ability won’t enter a tournament where they can’t compete. The last tourney I played in had some pretty terrible male golfers, with huge egos, participating. I think many men like to pick on women golfers because it makes them feel a little better about their own terrible games.

  7. Chris

    Mar 24, 2008 at 9:51 am

    Here we go again…..Last time I checked there are Men’s golf tournaments and Women’s golf tournaments. Why does there always have to be someone trying to stir up junk. Trying to get their 5 minutes of fame? Ms. Joyce if your that good then try the Futures tour for women or better yet start women’s league tournaments in your area. And as feeling “ostracized, marginalized, humiliated, embarrassed and denounced.” You brought that on yourself and going this route isn’t helping your case. And as for trying to get money from this, sounds like someone trying to get something for nothing. Hell maybe I ought to play with women in their leagues, not fair you say? There are mens leagues I can play in, you say. Exactly……

  8. Jeremy

    Mar 23, 2008 at 11:09 pm

    I grew up in Dennis and was a member of both town’s golf courses. I also played with Mary and her brother Dan Chamberlain during the summers and Mary in plenty of competition. I also had two friends who played varsity hockey play on the field hockey team during the off season. Knowing Jim Horvath as a friend I’m sad to hear he is no longer on the golf committee. Losing Mr. Horvath is a huge loss and it appears they should have listened to his concerns in May. It sad to see my club when I was a junior golf in this light as I was always treated with integrity. They have one of if not the best junior programs anywhere. I hope the situation is resolved fairly for each party involved

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The DailyWRX: What’s buzzing on social media 6/5/2020

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With everything going on, I wanted to find some humor out there…hope you all can find some time to have a chuckle, it helps.

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My game therefore I am trash.

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It’s funny…

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Rainy Wednesday…we going skippin!

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He is a literal walking ray of golden sunshine…

He’s inching up my list of favorite player…just sayin’.

DM @johnny_wunder for anything good

 

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Morning 9: U.S. Open could feature fans after all | LPGA skins match? | Singh WD’s from Korn Ferry event

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1. Singh bows out of Korn Ferry opener
Adam Woodard reports we will unfortunately not be getting the Singh/Schnell pairing we were hoping for…“Vijay Singh caused quite a stir a few weeks back when the three-time major champion’s name appeared on the field list for the Korn Ferry Tour’s first post-pandemic event at TPC Sawgrass’ Dye’s Valley Course June 11-14.”
  • “On Sunday, the PGA Tour confirmed Singh has withdrawn from the Korn Ferry Challenge. Golf Channel was first to report.”
  • “Singh riled up golf Twitter – Korn Ferry Tour pro Brady Schnell, in particular – with his initial decision to enter the KFT event. Being a lifetime PGA Tour member, The Big Fijian was eligible to enter the event because he wasn’t playing in the Tour’s return to play that same week at the Charles Schwab Challenge at Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth, Texas.”
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  • “The PGA Tour’s primary focus continues to be the health and well-being of all involved with our tournaments and the communities in which we play,” a statement from the Tour read. “We plan to resume play at the Charles Schwab Challenge with the event – and the three to immediately follow – closed to the general public.”
3. Lynch on player mics
Golfweek’s Eamon Lynch has a few thoughts on one of the most-discussed matters coming out of The Match 2…“The most compelling possibility raised by “The Match II” is having players wear microphones during tournament play, and this week the European Tour said it will encourage players to be mic’d when it resumes action in July. The ET’s chief executive, Keith Pelley, exhibits more confidence in golfers agreeing to this than any of the people I know who produce live tournament golf for a living. Those producers will unanimously tell you it’s near impossible to get a simple walk and talk from a PGA Tour player, much less an intimate audio feed for 18 holes of competition.”
“The absence of mic’d competitors in tournaments isn’t because producers don’t want greater access. For all their garrulousness on social media, even younger Tour players maintain an old school mentality passed down from generations of Curtis Stranges and Raymond Floyds, who were as about as approachable as a piranha with toothache when they were working between the ropes. There is also a cost attached. “The Match II” was carefully stage-managed, with players held up along the way to ensure they were live at the right times. That won’t happen in tournaments with 156 guys in the field. Sure, you can stream a single group wired for sound, but for network broadcasts you’ll add the expense of a production staffer to monitor all the chatter for gems and a tape operator to cue it up (and armchair critics will still bemoan that it’s tape-delayed).”
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Wherefore art the women in these charity matches? Apparently, we’d have already seen an LPGA skins match featuring top players, but for a lack of financial backing…
Golfweek’s Beth Ann Nichols has the full story…
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6. Fill-in Tour event?
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  • “…Other leading alternative site is Detroit with Lexington, Kentucky, and Carmel, Indiana, also possibilities. (This story was updated on Saturday, May 30, to include new information from the Akron Beacon-Journal, a member of the USA Today Network.)”
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1. Latest “bubble” memo
Golf Channel’s Rex Hoggard details the most recent communique from Tour to its players…“In a memo sent to players on Wednesday, tournament director Michael Tothe outlined many of the protocols that will be required when play resumes on June 11 at Colonial including the four Fort Worth, Texas, hotels that will create the foundation of the circuit’s “bubble” for the week.”
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Full piece.

6. After a long layoff, how do the pros play?
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  • “Generally, players taking small breaks of two weeks or less are marginally better than expected, while longer breaks result in an average drop in performance of between 0.1 and 0.2 strokes per round. For context, a drop of 0.2 strokes per round is about the gap between 100th- and 135th-ranked players in the world. It’s a significant change, but not enormous.”
  • “Additionally, the drop in performance after a 10-20 week gap is quite consistent across different levels of players. Top-50 players in the world are affected by a similar amount to those outside the top 50.”
7. A really bad take from Greg Norman
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  • …”My instructor and I had a saying, ‘If you can’t see through it don’t fly through it.’ If I was flying to Doral or Orlando or Naples and there was fog, we just put it down and waited it out.”
8. Sprint to the Cup
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  • “While the top 125 will not double as the cutoff for TOUR cards next season in this reduced schedule, it will remain the mark to get into THE NORTHERN TRUST, the first of three Playoffs events in the chase for the FedExCup.”
  • “Gone is the luxury of extended rest between starts for those sitting way back on the list, such as Koepka, who was just starting to find his feet again on a return from injury when the pandemic halted play in March.”

 

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