Jean Van De Velde has an interesting history. He went from being on the cusp of being without question the greatest French golfer in modern times (largely because there is virtually no competition for this honor) to being perhaps the most ridiculed golfer from any country. This stems, of course, from his mind-boggingly stupid performance on the 72nd hole of the 1999 British Open. (For anyone who missed this, he led by three strokes…and managed to shoot a triple bogey on that hole, something almost unheard of on ANY hole by a professional golfer. Worse yet, he did it by making bad decision after bad decision. It was his fault he tripled the hole, pure and simple. He lost, predictably enough, in the playoff that ensued.)
Now, JVDV is raising a fuss about the fact that women want to enter into men’s tournaments, saying that if this is permissible, he wants to play in the Women’s British Open. Now…I get where he’s going with this. It’s somewhat sexist to say its fine for a woman to enter a man’s tournament but that it’s unfair the other way around. But the reality is that when players like Van de Velde and Vijay Singh raise their eyebrows at women playing their sport, they just look like dicks. Look, Michelle Wie is going to make the cut one of these days and if that’s the case, eventually the entire concept of Men’s Tournaments and Women’s Tournaments should be merged. Perhaps the new golf associations will be based not on gender but on where the tee boxes are. Frankly, I’d bet even money that Van de Velde wouldn’t enter the Women’s British if they let him…because he might miss the cut. There are probably a handful of men on the PGA Tour who get lucky enough to have their card this year but will be back in qualifying school next year. Would they dominate the women’s tour? I doubt it. Once you get over the distance in power, one of the best things about golf is that everyone is facing the same hole. Sure, a man might be able to hit his tee shot past a sandtrap that someone with less power can’t, but Corey Pavin had a fine career in the PGA without being able to drive more than 250 yards. Michelle Wie already blasts past 300 regularly. The line is already blurred, and as far as I’m concerned, that’s a good thing.