Leave it to someone to reverse golf dream
February 20, 2003
Brian Kontak has a dream. Like most of us, he’s aiming high — he wants to test his limits and soar with eagles. Why else was man put on this earth? Brian wants to be the best he can possibly be.
Kontak, a Phoenix area pro golfer, wants to play in the U.S. Women’s Open.
Stop laughing! Haven’t you people seen the film “Rudy,” wherein a plucky, undersized college student makes his dream come true to play for Notre Dame? Or how about “Hoosiers,” where, against all odds, a tiny Indiana high school basketball team captures the prestigious state championship? And how about “The Birdcage,” where a gay man tries to convince, um … well, forget that one.
Kontak’s quest is just as noble, the odds just as seemingly insurmountable. In his dreams, he sees himself hitting off the women’s tee, his shot arcing gracefully against a brilliant sky, as young girls applaud in the gallery. “Yeah, Brian!” they will shout, waving their autograph books with unicorns and rainbows on the covers. “You go, girl!”
But beware, Brian — for danger lurks just around the corner. There are those who would try to keep you from your dream.
“The entry form is very clear that in USGA women’s events, one of the criteria is that the person has to be female at birth,” Marty Parkes, senior director of communications for the U.S. Golf Association, told USA Today. “A male would be ineligible to compete in a USGA women’s championship.”
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And believe me, the USGA has ways of checking.
But Kontak is resolute.
“I have a plan regarding that,” he said, “but right now I’m not at liberty to say what it is.”
One can only hope mightily that the plan does not involve Michael Jackson’s plastic surgeon.
But wait a minute — as we see further quotes by Kontak, delving more deeply into his thoughts, we are in for a bit of a surprise.
“If it’s acceptable for a woman to play in a men’s event,” said the 31-year-old former member of the Canadian Tour, “I don’t know why it’s not acceptable for a man to play a USGA women’s event.”
He’s referring, of course, to the LPGA’s Annika Sorenstam, who received an invitation to play in the PGA Tour Bank of America Colonial and Connecticut club pro Suzy Whaley qualifying for the PGA Tour Greater Hartford Open.
Kontak says he just wants a chance to play against the best women in the world, The Golf Channel reported on Tuesday.
“If women are allowed to play PGA Tour events and take spots from veterans trying to make a living and from Q-School guys, I don’t know why a man can’t play in a USGA event,” he said. “I just want the chance to play, like Annika has the chance to play against us.”
And so we see the true face of Brian Kontak; he’s an MCG — Male Chauvinist Golfer.
Golf is a truly baffling sport. Invented by Scotsmen who were clearly suffering from too much time on their hands and too much alcohol in their hands, it has survived through the ages for reasons unknown. Here are the major setbacks:
1. Large playing surface. It takes acres and acres of land to play a decent game of golf, and even with all of this open space, only three or four people at a time can participate. A shameful waste of recreational open space.
2. Difficult fundamentals. To be able to play with any degree of proficiency, one must make it a life’s pursuit — it takes years and years to even be able to hit the ball straight. And if you want to be a great golfer, well, just kiss your family good-bye.
3. Good ol’ boys. Golf is consistently last in areas of race and gender equality. Rather than condemning the Augusta National Golf Club’s all-male membership policy, for instance, the Richmond County Commission passed a law Tuesday regulating protesters at this year’s Masters.
Golfers are truly a breed apart. In football, for instance, I don’t think that you would hear this hue and cry if a woman wanted to play in the NFL. Most of us would think it would be cool — watching in interest to see if she could hack it. Same with baseball; bring on the chicks! Come on, you have to admit you loved it when Tatum O’Neal was striking out the boys in “Bad News Bears.”
But in golf, it’s different. There’s a big “No Girls Allowed” sign on their tree fort. Perhaps it’s because golf has traditionally been a way for men to escape their wives and families for a few hours on the weekends. But, perhaps, it goes deeper than that. Perhaps men who play this sport are basically insecure.
After all, if a woman plays on the men’s tour and is successful, then it proves what many have been saying all along — that golf is not a real sport. And if a woman should (shudder!) win a PGA event, then the sport as we know it could collapse entirely.
That’s really what scares guys like Brian Kontak, to whom we say, go ahead, play at the U.S. Women’s Open. Bobby Riggs already tried this gambit and it didn’t work. As we learned in the schoolyard, playing sports with girls is a no-win proposition. When you win, well, you were supposed to. And when you lose, you lost to a girl. So when that happens, Brian, don’t come crying to me.
— Rick Chandler’s interactive sports column, Capacity Crowd, can be found at NBCSports.com. Contact him at RickChand@earthlink.net
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