I voiced my objections to the editors of SPORTS ILLUSTRATED
immediately after reading Major Party: Women Go to the Dinah for
the Golf and for the Scene That Has Grown Up Around the
Tournament (Golf Plus, April 7) and have since learned that I'm
not alone in my sentiments. In fact, I have been strongly
supported by colleagues from inside and outside the golf
industry--people such as Bruce Callis, the senior vice president
of State Farm Insurance; Mark McCormack, chairman of IMG; John
Solheim, president of Karsten Manufacturing; and Tom Wyman, the
former chairman of CBS.
We believe GOLF PLUS made an inexcusable triple bogey by
publishing a story about the so-called Dinah Shore Weekend--the
lesbian gathering in Palm Springs that happens to take place
concurrently with the LPGA's first major of the year, the
Nabisco Dinah Shore. Here's why:
There are 25 million golfers in the U.S. and 45 million
worldwide, and you can take it to the bank that they come in all
sizes, races and sexual orientations.
For years, those in the industry have been aware of the Dinah
Shore Weekend. Is there a formal association between it and the
tournament? No. Has the LPGA made any attempt to formalize a
relationship between the two? No. Then why does America's
leading sports weekly see the need to forcibly draw a connection
between the two?
There are now 43 events on the LPGA tour, an alltime high. A
record 31 of those events are on television. Attendance records
are being broken every week. Prize money has doubled in this
decade alone. The LPGA deserves credit for the great strides it
has made in emphasizing the quality of its golf and the
personalities of its players as the core competencies of the
tour. But the task becomes Sisyphean if false friends such as
Golf Plus devote four pages to a nongolf story dealing with
sexual orientation and only three to LPGA Hall of Famer Betsy
King winning her sixth major championship.
Frankly, we feel that SI hit it way out-of-bounds by allowing
the Dinah Weekend story to appear in GOLF PLUS, which would be
better off focusing on birdies and bogeys rather than
bacchanalics and bustiers.
Uihlein is chairman/CEO of Titleist and Foot-Joy Worldwide.