By Snyper on 4/23/08
By Matt Snyder, oobgolf contributer
There is no doubt that Lorena Ochoa is dominating the women's tour right now. This week's fourth consecutive win makes that blatantly obvious. And, yes, that is a very impressive accomplishment and she should be congratulated and respected for her talent. However, please do not insult her by comparing her to Tiger Woods, or any other man for that matter! She is a woman! Tiger Woods is a man! You cannot compare the two. I don't care if you are talking about golf, basketball, or heck, even field hockey; you are absolutely ignorant if you compare genders in the world of sports. Now, let's talk about why.
Women's sports are not nearly as competitive as men's sports. That is not to suggest that this is a fault of women. This is simply the case because, compared to men's sports, women's sports have not been popular for very long at all. Everyone knows that the more popular a sport is, the deeper the competition is. Men have been playing sports for a long, long time! Men's sports are much more mainstream than women's sports. College basketball is a perfect example of this. There is a reason that Pat Summit won her 8th national title this year! Is she that amazing of a coach? NO! Now, don't get me wrong, I love Tennessee and I think she is an excellent coach. However, she's not a better coach than Mike Krzyzewski, Bob Knight, Dean Smith, etc. They don't have near as many championships as Pat does. Why is that? Because, when a sport is not very popular, the talent level is lower across the board. Consequently, the gap between the best teams and mediocre teams is much larger. Look at schools like Kentucky and Duke on the men's side. They are two schools with an incredibly rich and elite history in basketball. Tennessee's women's program is no more elite than Duke or Kentucky's men's programs. Yet, this year in the men's NCAA Tournament, Kentucky lost in the first round after barely making the tournament and Duke was ousted from the tournament for the second straight year in the second round. Can you imagine that happening to Pat Summit? NO! And that is because it won't happen for maybe another 50 years! And that is because the gap between the men's basketball programs in the NCAA is much smaller than the gap between the women's programs.
If you ask men how many have played basketball competitively at some level, the number of yes's would be much greater than if you asked women the same question. So if you are a boy and you are naturally gifted with the ability to play basketball, it is very likely that you will realize that talent. Not only will you realize it, you will be encouraged to grow that talent. However, if you are a girl who is naturally gifted with the ability to play basketball, you may never even step on a court to realize that you are skilled. If you are fortunate enough to realize your talent, there is also a greater chance that you won't have the opportunity to grow your talent. That is the way society is. Now, that is surely changing with the increased popularity of women's athletics, but it will be a long, long time until women's athletics are as deep in their talent pool as men's athletics. Until that happens, you cannot compare the accomplishments of one gender to another.
The gap between men and women in golf is even greater than that seen in the world of basketball and other mainstream sports. Just go to a golf course and you can see the gap in action. Golf courses can barely afford to carry much merchandise for women because the pro shops don't see enough female traffic. I can tell you that in my area, the number of women who play golf has not changed much in the twelve years that I have worked behind the counter of local pro shops. Another example of this gap in golf is the high school sports programs in this country. How many schools can you think of that have a girls only golf team? I know of none in my area. In fact, if you have one or two girls that even try out, you are ahead of the norm. Yet, even in this rural area, all the local high schools have a girls basketball program. The participation at this grass roots level is the cause for the eventual large gap between the best and the rest. Golf, with its high cost equipment and expensive greens fees, is not nearly as readily available as other sports. So we cannot expect the gap to close nearly as quickly as it may in other sports.
I say all of that to say this, you cannot fairly compare the feats of women to that of men. Tiger Woods dominating men's golf is WAY more impressive than Lorena Ochoa dominating women's golf. The fields in the men's events are so much deeper than the fields at the ladies' events. The number of women who can realistically win on the LPGA Tour is much smaller than the number of men who have a realistic shot at winning on the PGA Tour. In addition, you have to remember that the most likely competitor to Lorena is Annika, who is far from 100%. She is still recovering from an injury filled season in 2007. When your biggest opponent is sidelined for that amount of time, you should be seizing the moment and doing well.
Congratulations Lorena, and keep up the good work. I think it's good for the LPGA. However, let's not get out of hand and start comparing her to Tiger or any other man who plays or has played the game. It's not fair to either one of them. Can we please just congratulate a woman for what she accomplishes without always having to compare it to something a man does?
[ comments ]
The problem I see is that stats say a different story. I mean if there were a women with faster 100 time than a man. Isn't she faster, even if the competition isn't as good?
Lorena might not compare to Tiger Woods, but she is beating the average PGA tour member in yards per drive, fairways hit, gir, putting average, etc. Doesn't that say that she is better than the average PGA player? So isn't it fair to compare her to "any other man that has played the game".
NO! She doesn't play the same courses and she doesn't play against the same competition!!!!! If she knew she was playing against men she would have to try to hit shots that she can't hit. She would know that a score that is good enough to beat women, isn't going to be good enough to beat men. Her stats are stats that she accrued while playing LPGA courses against women! She's not playing PGA courses against men! Look at the stats of the women who have tried to do that. How'd they make out? Same game, but that is the only thing in common. Nothing else can be related or compared in fairness to both genders.
I see both sides. It's tough to argue with the stats but she does play different courses.
I don't think she'd dominate the PGA but I think she would be competitive. I guess the real fact is- if she could be the best female golfer EVER or be the woman good enough to be an average male- which would she choose? I think she is probably doing the right thing.
I agree, She should be seizing the moment. Pretty soon Annika may be ceasing to be injured.
Got it Merlin. Thanks, and you're right!!
There is no doubt that Ochoa is the best female in golf right now. However, looking back on history..I believe Annika tried to play a PGA event or two and failed to make cuts..please someone correct me if I am wrong. They are the best at what they do, but it is a long shot from what the men do.
Well said everyone! Remember... no matter what the brain size or number stats of the I.Q., women, on the average, cannot and will never, hit it as far as a man. Can a smart woman keep up with the dumb ol' man off the tee, or reaching long par 5's in two? Can women hit it as accurately as a man? Yes. But not as far, thereby there is no way women will ever compete to the length and caliber of a man golfer. There may have been one exception to that rule: Laura Davies. But alas, there are no more Laura's out there trying to compete with a man, no matter whether it be for longest drive, or reaching par 5's in two! I LOVE watching the LPGA on TV, and even once in a while on Golf Channel's, "The PGA Tour". Not only do they look better on facial close ups, (most of the time), but they also look much better from the other angles! How many men would you like to see featured in the "Sports Illustrated" golf and swim issue? So, you're right, Matt. Quit trying to compare them out of that place!
It is too bad that Lorena could not have been in the same generation as Nancy Lopez, who would have given her some serious competition!! The other ladies seem to be rising to the occasion, so let us see what happens in the "Long Term" before we place a "Crown" on her head. JWHpurist
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