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Woman Golfer Competes in Male Tournament in Texas - 2003-05-19


Are women professional golfers as good as their male counterparts? Golfer Annika Sorenstam hopes to answer that question when she tees off at the Colonial Invitational Tournament in Fort Worth, Texas Thursday. VOA-TV’s Melinda Smith says some of her competitors are not happy with her decision to play.

Annika Sorenstam is one of the best women golfers in the world. So she didn’t think twice when she was invited to play with the men:

ANNIKA SORENSTAM, PROFESSIONAL GOLFER
“I thought this would be the true test. What are my strengths? What are my weaknesses? Can I play against the guys?”

Instead she got this reaction.

NICK PRICE, PROFESSIONAL GOLFER
“To me, it’s just a huge promotional, media hype. That’s all she’s after here.”

SCOTT HOCH, PROFESSIONAL GOLFER
“She’s a tremendous player…for a lady.”

Some male golfers reportedly resent her for believing she’s good enough to compete…and fear she’s good enough to win:

DUFFY WALDORF, PROFESSIONAL GOLFER
“That’s all I’ve heard. Don’t lose to Annika when you go play Colonial.”

The 32 year old Swede dismisses the criticism.

ANNIKA SORENSTAM, PROFESSIONAL GOLFER
“They don’t know me. I’ve always felt being an athlete I wanted to push myself and try things and that’s exactly what I’m doing.”

Annika Sorenstam has won 44 professional tournaments…but always against other women.

When she tees up, she’ll be the first female golfer to compete since Babe Didrickson Zaharias, who lost before the final round of the Los Angeles Open in 1945.

Annika Sorenstam doesn’t hit the ball as far as the best male players. The pressure of the spotlight could be another factor, says golf announcer Roger Twibell:

ROGER TWIBELL, GOLF ANNOUNCER
“This is going to be the most difficult test of golf that she has ever faced in her golfing life.”

Her performance this week may be more than just a test of golf. Some believe her credibility, as well as the stature of women’s golf, are also at stake.

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