Monday, August 31, 2009

In case you missed it...

Just doing some post-weekend catching up on stories.

Dr. Alice Dreger wrote a very good piece in the NYT about the biology of sex--inspired, of course, by the story of Caster Semenya.

A 74-year old woman received a gold medal in judo--50 years after winning the YMCA competition. Rusty Kanokogi, who was legitimately part of a judo team when she was in her 20s and took the position of an injured teammate, was disqualified after she won the competition when officials discovered she was a woman. Apparently in her gear she appeared somewhat androgynous. The outrage she felt at being stripped of her gold medal fueled her activism on behalf of women's judo.

Netball is coming to the United States! What is netball, you ask? Well it is one of the most popular women's sports in the world. And it is going to be played at the Staples Center September 11. It will be an exhibition game prior to the Sparks last regular season home game. Here is a description of the sport: Netball is similar to basketball although there is no dribbling, the ball and basket are slightly smaller, there is no backboard and players are designated to certain areas of the court. The game is fast, fun and can be played by women, men, boys and girls of all ages, sizes and skill levels. Netball is recognized by the International Olympic Committee and a strong push is underway for it’s inclusion as a participation sport.
And apparently it is growing in the US after years and years of popularity in countries such as England and New Zealand.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

WPS all-stars and a new attention-getter?

The WPS all-star game is being played tomorrow evening in Missouri. WPS all-stars will take on a team from Sweden. Apparently the roster has changed a bit since the original voting took place because some players (the English and French) have national team commitments. Votes were cast by fans, coaches, media peeps, and fellow WPS players. And though the WPS did not get nearly as much attention as I would have liked to see (I'm talking to you--again--ESPN!) it was clear from the list of starters chosen that those who did pay attention know something about the game. Only 4 Americans made the (initial) line-up showing that foreign players made an impression this season over bigger names such as Abby Wambach and Hope Solo.
LA Sol keeper Karina LaBlanc got voted into the starting goal keeper spot. Solo will be an alternate.
Perhaps Solo did not get the top spot because she is a "loudmouth, showboat, jerk" according to a recent Atlantic article about Solo and the controversy she has engendered. I think we covered some of this when Solo was benched against Brazil in favor of veteran Brianna Scurry in the last women's World Cup; the apparent double standard when a female speaks out; the expectations of women's teams being a big bff fest, etc.
But this article seems to suggest that Solo's showboating behavior may gain the WPS some popularity. She's edgy in a league that is all about marketing to families and role-model behavior. The suggestion being that such an attitude will not sell the sport. After all, the article says, most professional sports love the villain, thrive on controversy, and need that off-field excitement.
It's all so fraught. I am neither a Hope Solo fan nor a hater. And I do like the idea that the WPS needs to expand its marketing beyond the kids and their paying parents demographic. But the idea that there has to be a bad girl to draw attention to the league is an unfortunate one.
I hope this is not the new other way for female athletes to get noticed (the first being the whole sexification process).

(h/t to jb for the Solo article)

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Cuba says no way, India says hooray!

Cuba may not want its female citizens boxing, but Indian women, who have been stepping into the ring for a while now, are excited about showcasing their skills at the Olympics in 2012. In fact the Indian women are probably the second best in the world after the Chinese.
The benefits of boxing for Indian women are numerous but seem to center, at least according to this NYT article, on the possibility of a better life after their boxing career ends. Boxers get government jobs and housing as well as other perks. Such things mark one as middle class and many of these women came from a lower caste and specifically sought out boxing for its ability to engender such a class shift. It provides honor to the boxer and her family.
It also gives women a little more reprieve from the domestic duties required of many Indian women. And for some it has altered their attitude toward such roles. One woman has continued to fight even after marriage and motherhood and works in partnership with her husband running a sports academy out of their home.
The article was a smidge condescending and I was surprised there was no mention of religion. I am assuming that all of the women interviewed are not Muslims. Mostly because I am thinking of the issues Sania Mirza, a Muslim Indian, has had being a prominent professional tennis player. I imagine a Muslim boxer would have greater difficulties than the ones these women discussed.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Perhaps the last ditch appeal

The group of female ski jumpers that sued the VANOC earlier this year because women are not allowed to participate in the sport at the Olympic level have filed an appeal of the decision that did not go their way. Despite acknowleding that the omission of the female jumpers from the Olympics is indeed lousy and wrong, the judge in the case ruled that there was nothing she nor VANOC could do about it because it was an IOC decision and the IOC is not subject to Canadian law, specifically the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and thus they could not be forced to add the sport.
But lawyers for the women are saying that they are not asking the court to mandate the sport be added, rather it is asking that VANOC, as Canadians, be forced to abide by Canadian law. It's not quite a splitting of the hairs situation but almost. After all the possible consequences of VANOC doing so would result in either the elimination of the men's contest or even possibly a cancellation of the games. (Can you imagine how pissed athletes would be if the games got cancelled because the IOC wouldn't let women jump off an icy hill? Just recall how angry some were when the US wouldn't go to Moscow all in the name of democracy.)
In other words, the jumpers are trying to force a situation which would be far worse than simply allowing them to participate. The language has just shifted a tad.
The appeal will be heard by a three-judge panel in Vancouver will hear the appeal in early November.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Why I rooted against the Americans

I actually don't have strong American leanings when it comes to international sport (or anything else actually) so rooting for the Europeans last weekend in the Solheim Cup is not necessarily shocking for anyone who knows me.
But frankly I was ticked off after watching the press conference with Christina Kim and Morgan Pressel and Christie Kerr the day before play started. I have a decent admiration for Kim because she has a certain defiant attitude to her; she steps outside of golf's boundaries of genteelness, etc. But she stepped right back into them when she addresses the only slightly subtle question about the Euro vs. American format. The reporter was essentially asking, without directly asking it, what about the Asians? Because some of the press over this Solheim Cup has centered around an allegedly weak European team (they very much held their own until the singles matches). And of course there has been all the coverage over the rise of Asian players.
But Kim said the Solheim Cup should stay the way it is because it's a golf tradition. First of all, it's only been around since the 1990s. It is certainly not as entrenched as the Ryder Cup. And, um, hello Christina Kim--you should have a problem with tradition. Actually all you women should have a problem with golf's traditions. If you want to create an interesting tournament there should be an Asian team.
Kerr suggested there be other tournaments to accomplish this (again, unstated) purpose. Like the men's President Cup. They could have a First Lady's Cup! she exclaimed. [Someone hand me a chisel. It's going to take a long time to chip away at all this cognitive dissonance.]
The Solheim Cup, despite its nascence, holds a certain position in the golf world. And the best golfers should have access to the publicity and prestige it confers.
Maybe if Kim had to sit down face-to-face with Yani Tseng and explain "tradition" to her, she would see the harm and discrimination it continues to perpetuate.

Monday, August 24, 2009

The father discourse

Some of us who study gender and sport get a serious case of the sighs when we read about athletes who are mothers or expectant mothers. There are a myriad of problems with the discourse including (but not limited to): how it plays on/reifies a female apologetic; how it presents pregnancy as a disability; and the hackneyed work/motherhood balance that often fails to acknowledge the help many of these athletes have access to (that others do not).
And, of course, we frequently bemoan how many male athletes are fathers yet we never hear about their fatherhood experiences. When Andre Agassi became a father at the end of his career we got a few mentions of that. And there was that very cute American Express commercial that played on his dad duties. But it was the end of the career and he was married to Steffi Graf which made it slightly more interesting.
But now Roger Federer has become a father--of two. His wife gave birth shortly after Wimbledon to twin girls. And it is drawing plenty of comment. Pam Shriver noted yesterday how Federer is getting used a different kind of changing of ends. (I know, she's just awful!)
And in the reporting of his win in Cincinnati yesterday there was this headline: New father Federer wins Cincy Masters. The first line: Changing diapers doesn't seem to bother Papa Federer's game.
It's kind of interesting. But I know everyone is just waiting to see if his game "suffers" because of his alleged new duties (after all the Federers must be traveling with at least one nanny--probably two). I am sure the daddy discourse will continue at the US Open and the questions about how he is adjusting to fatherhood will get perhaps equal time to how he feels about possibly facing Nadal before the finals (draw comes out Thursday).

Even if you build the ring...

...Cuba won't come. Cuba, always a contender on the international boxing scene, will not be sending female boxers to the Olympics in 2012. Something about the appropriateness of the sport for women and not getting their pretty faces punched.
Not that I am trying to bring people down after the IOC's decision to add boxing: action that attempts to back up their alleged commitment to gender equity. But it's a good time to remember that even though women have access internationally, many countries put varying levels of restrictions on their participation.

I'm pretty sure it's too late...

...but I signed this anyway.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Sunday stuff

You slack off for a few days and lots of things happen.

First, back to the "old" news of the week: the gender verification of Caster Semenya. Nothing has changed regarding her circumstances. But a lot of objection has been voiced to the process as well as to seeming lack of tact the IAAF has exhibited in keeping this matter a more private one. Both Dave Zirin and Pat Griffin have written excellent columns on the ongoing issue.

Also in Berlin a less controversial and more uplifting story: that of Jesse Owens and his friendship with Germany athlete Luz Long, who gave Owens advice about his long jump take-off in the 1936. Advice that helped him move on the medal round of the event that he eventually won. It is notable, of course, because Owens won his medal in the Berlin Games of 1936 that Hitler intended to be a showcase for the Aryan race. But this particular friendship is also notable because well it seems rare these days that competitors would actually give one another advice about how to better their performance--legally anyway.

SKY Blue FC won the inaugural WPS championship yesterday beating league favorite and season-long powerhouse LA Sol. Sky Blue's win is the kind of Cinderella story sport peeps seem to enjoy. They began the year in last place; fired their first coach (Ian Sawyer, husband of Julie Foudy) because of some issues over chemistry within the organization; their second head coach (former asst. coach) quit after her assistant coach was let go. This was after Sky Blue had worked itself back into playoff contention. With just a few games left in the regular season, veteran and captain Christy Rampone took over coaching duties. It was a good game. Sky Blue's goalie made some good saves throughout--and especially in the second half--and the team likely benefited from the early red card (quite debatable call) on the Sol which forced them to operate a player down for the remainder of the game.

The Solheim Cup ends today with singles play. Things are tight and there is definite pressure on the European team to take this competition so as to save the cup from extinction (because of US dominance). More on the Solheim Cup later in the week.

And in my grrrr moment of the weekend: former coach Bobby Knight is going to be inducted into Indiana University's Hall of Fame. Note that this is almost a decade after Knight was fired for a "pattern of unacceptable behavior." I guess time really does heal all wounds.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

More on Semenya

It appears that some are being somewhat sensitive to the investigation of South African Caster Semenya's gender. No one is accusing her of cheating or that she has knowledge of her condition. Note however that one, there is still an investigation and two, there's an assumption that there's something wrong with her--something abnormal.
I watched the tape delayed race last night and Semenya won by a lot, which probably did not help her cause. But, of course, it's also a sign that she is not thrown by this whole thing--or even motivated by it.
And despite the apparent sympathy marked by the absence of shouts of "she's a boy! she's a boy!", the discourse is a little more indicative of what people are really thinking about just how much of a girl Semenya is or is not.
The NYT called her a "muscular 18-year old from South Africa." Odd choice of adjectives given that this is the world championships and everyone has muscles. And remember folks, muscles aren't just for boys anymore.
What is slightly more problematic is the blog post by an American track and field athlete. Brianna Glenn writes that:
the fact that I’m referring to Semenya as a “she” is the whole reason for the controversy. It seems there has been testing done (or there will be in the near future) to see whether she’s male or both, and therein is where the problem lies. According to IAAF rules, a competitor must be fully female to compete in women’s events. She seemingly came out of nowhere and burst onto the international scene to be the best in the world and that was the first clue that something was amiss. Add to that her running style and mannerisms and people really begin to scratch their head.
Again, when someone comes out of nowhere you usually think steroids. But Glenn's mention of Semenya's running style and mannerisms reveal the problem behind this whole situation. Semenya allegedly does not conform to some version of femininity that Glenn and others think she should. Glenn also seems to add injury to insult when she mentions Semenya's "simple background." Not sure what she is getting at. That Semenya was duped into believing she is female?
I am so not looking forward to where this whole is going regardless of what is "discovered."

Too good to be a girl

So if a young athlete pops onto the track and field scene with personal best times that are considerably better than her previous times you should test her to make sure that:
A) she is not taking performance-enhancing drugs.
B) she is not a cyborg.
C) she is not a man.

If it were me, I would choose B because, I just think that would be the most interesting and I think that's where we're headed. Realistically though it would seem A would be the best choice for a sport that is plagued with a drug problem.
But no, the IAAF is going with C. Yep, they are suspicious of the times turned in by 18-year old Caster Semenya from South Africa who qualified for the final heat of the 800 meters at the World Championships being held in Berlin. They have asked the South African federation to test her gender. And this is not the Buccal swab of days of yore. This is everything:
The verification requires a physical medical evaluation, and includes reports from a gynecologist, endocrinologist, psychologist, an internal medicine specialist and an expert on gender.
Hmm..."expert on gender." I must have missed that call.
Probably best for them because I would have said something like, "are you crazy?"
Is this the can of worms that was opened during the Beijing Olympics when the reserved the right to selectively test suspect females? [Note that the worms in that can would not pass the test because they are hermaphrodites.]
I cannot find any rationale for why Semenya is suspected of "not meet[ing] the requirements to compete as a woman." History has taught us nothing, clearly.
The very minor consolation is that some are at least acknowledging that it could be a "natural" thing in which the athlete was raised as a woman and believes herself to be a woman and thus is not a gender cheat. Of course the nuance appears to end there.
And if you think her race does not play a part in this discussion, think again.

PS Semenya won the 800.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Nice try, but...

In what appears to be a last-ditch effort to get their sport into the Vancouver games, a group of female ski jumpers has written a letter to IOC president Jacques Rogge asking him to let them compete this coming winter. Since it appears that no one has jurisdiction over the IOC and Rogge, the women are doing what they can to keep their cause alive. And they are also drawing on the positive reaction to the inclusion of women's boxing in the summer games starting in 2012. Boxing was the only summer games sport without with a men-only competition. Ski jumping and Nordic combined are the only men-only sports in the winter games (and now, I suppose in the whole Olympic roster).
I admire their efforts as I have throughout this fight. But I am doubtful this letter, even in combo with the praise from the boxing decision, will sway Rogge. This is, after all, the man who refused to even meet with the women in person to let them plead their case.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Gay golf humor

Just happened upon a column about the trouble in the gay conversion movement. This satirical take on the issue probes some possibilities for less formal, more budget-friendly conversion options. One of them is about golf.
And with all the efforts women's golf has been making to heterosexify itself, I couldn't help but post this excerpt from the column (which also includes how to use men's golf to affirm straightness).
Enjoy--and if the topic interests you, check out the whole thing for the non-sport related conversion options.
[I]f you have a little bit of a budget, you can try my second-tier program: Straight ‘n’ Swingin!
All you need are some golf magazines.
Based on casual observation, Golf is a powerful force in turning and keeping straight men straight. And unlike football or baseball, you don’t have to worry about sweaty locker rooms or tight, sexy pants.
Just keep a supply of golf magazines on hand and send them to men you think might be having dangerously nonstraight thoughts. Or leave it on their doorsteps like periodical elves.
The only problem with that plan, of course, is it can only be applied to men. DO NOT send golf magazines to women or straight couples. In the event that the female half of the couple looks at the magazine and can stay awake, she’s in peril.
Just to be safe, don’t send a golf magazine to anybody, male or female, if it contains the phrase “Dinah Shore.”
Don’t even send out magazines with articles about golfing at the shore.

Monday, August 17, 2009

What counts as compliance

Last month Florida Gulf Coast University released the findings from its external investigation of its athletic department. The short version of the FGCU saga is this: The very few female coaches in the department got together and complained about the state of the athletic department, specifically gender equity. All of them suffered some form of retaliation; some left the school entirely; some were suspended or fired. And then a few filed a lawsuit. There were settlements.
For a more detailed recounting of the events head to the Title IX Blog.
Part of the settlement included a mandatory external review of gender equity. Dr. Christine Grant was chosen for this task. A very good choice and one that would ensure that this review process (there had been several before) was legit.
More good news is that her report revealed that things are in good shape at FGCU. Equitable scholarship dollars: check. Equitable opportunities: check. Equitable distribution of resources: pretty good. (There are a few discrepancies that will be easy to work out according to Grant.) And the majority of the coaches in the department state that they believe the department is committed to gender equity.
So what the heck happened at FGCU then? Why would a department so on the up-and-up have to settle lawsuits?
Well the evidence of retaliation was pretty strong. And the parties that executed the retaliation--namely the former athletic director, are no longer in the department. Also no longer in the department are the coaches who complained. This might account for the responses by coaches as to the commitment to gender equity. Also a possible factor is the history of retaliation against coaches who say there may be problems. The smiling and nodding is thus not surprising.
But what is truly absent from the findings--at least as they have been reported--is a discussion of the atmosphere. It's great that female student-athletes are getting their far share. But it still does not seem to be a great place for female coaches. In fact there are only three (head coaches) there. They get paid well. But they probably should because it appears they have to put up with a lot of crap. Including an incredibly homophobic environment. Much of the evidence regarding the retaliation against the various coaches indicated a culture of lesbian-baiting and homophobia.
Unfortunately none of the investigations--internal or external--dealt with this issue. And that is largely because Title IX makes no protection against homophobia. It is a large problem in the fight for equity for women in sports and one that is not going to go away if we only use a gender equity paradigm that is based on Title IX.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

No softball

I guess I shouldn't have had much faith that the IOC would do the right thing, and I actually don't know what the right thing was in this situation. But I am disappointed that the executive board got all excited about golf and that they are banking on Tiger Woods to play in 2016 (when he will be 40--not especially old in golf years but let's remember that he's already had one knee surgery). That's just kind of ridiculous reasoning, frankly. I still think they are silly to think that professionals will place the Olympics above other (paying) commitments or more prestigious events.
So rugby sevens was the other sport nominated. As I have previously admitted, I don't know that much about rugby and a commenter the other day said it wasn't real rugby. I don't know. But I still think it will be interesting to expose more people to some version of the sport. And by some people, I really mean Americans.
Both sports are going up for individual votes (as in each sport will be voted on separately versus as a pair) to the entire IOC in October. Not sure if there is any chance that the executive committee's recommendations will not be heeded, but I suppose there is a chance.
So this all, of course, means that softball did not make it back into the Olympics. And apparently it wasn't even a close vote (or votes--there are multiple rounds of voting). And even if golf and/or rugby get denied by the entire IOC, none of the other sports (in addition to softball there was baseball, roller sports, squash, and karate) will be reconsidered.
Softball peeps have vowed to fight on and the head of the international softball is seeking explanations as to why softball was not deemed worthy for reinclusion. I would be interested in knowing this myself. Softball did a lot of work in this readmissions effort. I wonder what was missing.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The tyranny of lists

The Sporting News recently published its list of the 50 greatest coaches.
I didn't read the list because I was pretty sure it would have very few women, people of color, and non-US coaches.
But it seems that even the inclusion of Pat Summitt has created some discontent. Summitt is the only woman on the list and only one of two coaches of women's sports. (Geno Auriemma is the other.)
Says this blogger:
Even though Pat Summitt is a great coach at her sport, how she ranks 11 on this list in a field is beyonds me. Maybe have a secondary list of great coaches in secondary sports, like soccer, women's sports and all the other irrelevant sports out there. *
So basically all women's sports are irrelevant.

* The grammar mistakes belong to the author; I just cut and pasted it.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

And soon there will be two

From all accounts the IOC will vote on Thursday as to which two sports will be considered for admissions to the 2016 Olympics. And according to the NYT the top contenders do not include softball. Based on nothing concrete as far as I can tell rugby and golf are the favorites right now.
This is disappointing. I am all for rugby getting in but golf should not be an Olympic sport. As some article (can't find it now) pointed out two of the organizations behind golf's bid are all-male golf clubs--one of which is Augusta National (the other is in great Britain). Not a great way for the IOC to prove its alleged commitment to gender equity.
I had thought softball was doing a pretty decent job arguing its case and not showing any bitterness over apparently being booted out in the first place over a misunderstanding. Of course the misunderstanding itself was likely because so many IOC members are men who have no clue what softball--marked as a women's sport--really is.
Anyway back to why golf should not get in. Apparently the IOC wants the top names in the sport so Tiger Woods has said he would play. But as we all know professional athletes are always pulling out of contests, matches, etc. Many tennis players opted not to go to Beijing because it was in the middle of the hard court season and right before the US Open.
Don't think I am hatin' on golf. I like golf. But it shouldn't be an Olympic sport.
Of course no one asked me.
I wonder how one gets on the IOC anyway...Think of the havoc I could wreak.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Even in Canada, eh?

I sometimes am accused of "ruining" my students by making them see things (i.e. discrimination) on television and in the media that they can no longer ignore. It seems now that I am doing something similar for some readers. (Haha--my feminist agenda is well on its way!!)
Yes a dear reader sent me an article which mentioned many times the boyfriends and male partners/husbands of members of the Canadian women's hockey team.
I don't know why I think Canada is immune to patriarchy but I seem to hold it (you know, the whole country basically) to higher standards.
But this article from The Canadian Press was pretty blatant in its attempt to heterosexualize women's ice hockey. Perhaps it would have been more subtle if it hadn't started out like this:
Goaltender Kim St. Pierre will see her boyfriend a lot less now.
I am not usually one to do the men/women comparison because I often find it reductionist but in this situation one of the first things I thought of--after, of course, I sighed at the obvious fear of lesbians all over this article--was "I cannot imagine any article about men's hockey talking about a player being away from his girlfriend as he prepared for the Olympic games."
The topic of the article is the sacrifice many of the women are making. And the sacrifice is being away from family, primarily love interests, but also children. In other words the women who are mentioned in the article are straight. And as I said, the message is not really that subtle--even for those who don't read my blog!

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Different pay scales

I missed, in its entirety, the women's British Open last weekend. Which was too bad because a Scot actually won it. Catriona Matthew won the major--and just 11 weeks after giving birth to her second child. A fact every article I have seen points out. (We'll have to wait for another day to analyze the mommy discourse.)
What was surprising was this article which points out how little--outside of the prize money--actually earned for her win. She wore one endorsement patch. A Scot playing in the British Open had one endorsement. That's pretty bad. But what really shocked me was the above-mentioned prize money: less than 200,000 pounds.
Last time I heard, women in the United States earn about 70+ cents to every dollar a man earns. If Matthew's prize money is any indication of the situation in Great Britain, British women should be worried. Mathew's earned about 23 percent of what the men's British Open winner earned just weeks before. They are of course different tournaments on different tours with different sponsors, etc., etc. But the disparity along with Mathew's lack of sponsors (especially compared with far less successful male golfers) is frightening.

Friday, August 07, 2009

Another coach behaving badly moment

Most of us know that homophobia is rampant in sports. But it is, in this the 21st century, usually a tad more subtle. Not so this past week in which we saw/heard the University of Hawaii football coach use the word faggot three times--three times!--in a press conference. Greg McMackin was referring to the chant the University of Notre Dame football team does before their games. He thought it resembled a "faggot dance." Clearly the man has never been to a gay dance club; because he would know that gay people are far better dancers than that!
Here's a pretty good editorial about the incident.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

While you're waiting...

...for me to get back from vacation (because that's where I am) you should go over the Women's Sports Foundation website to vote for Sportswoman of the Year. You cast two votes; one for team sport athlete and one for individual sport. WSF did a good job with the nominees who represent a variety of sports including tennis, bowling, swimming, softball, and gymnastics among others. They have more well-known athletes and lesser-known ones--the latter condition due largely to the media invisibility of the sport.
I ask that you do two things: 1) read the bios of the athletes before you vote; it will give you a greater appreciation of all the athletes but especially the lesser-known ones; and 2) please don't vote for Danica Patrick--'cause I don't want to have to blog about that.

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Using sex to sell sport Part ??

Oh screw it. I can't keep track anymore of how many posts I have done about using sex appeal to sell women's sports. I had vowed to take a break from this stuff post-Wimbledon. But it keeps coming up.
This time it's women's golf. Not sure why focus has switched over to the LPGA--perhaps because of the difficult economic times the LPGA in particular is experiencing and the (false) notion that sexy, young golfers will somehow remedy that situation.
But as we know it will likely only increase the money earned by a few individual golfers--like the W7. Yes, the Wilhelmina 7--seven young golfers signed by the famous modeling agency. I believe the W7 have made an appearance on this blog before. But here they are again. Also of note is that skeevy Vegas business that hires out female golfers to play with men. One of the up-and-coming pretty girls, Anna Rawson, was part of that group but has apparently jumped ship since all the publicity--which wasn't all good obviously. Rawson has recently signed with company that has done all those lovely ads with Danica Patrick. Not nearly as controversial as her "dykes" on tour radio comments. Check out the previous link to an ESPN piece on Rawson in which she gets very uncomfortable when confronted with her choice of words.
Thankfully I am not the only person who thinks this is all just ridiculous. In honor of National Cheesecake Day which was Thursday, Emily Kay of the Boston Golf Examiner took the sarcastic tone I love and so astutely pointed out that all these efforts to find the cute girls are all about trying to cover up the tour's dirty little secret: lesbians. shhh.... don't tell.
Interestingly enough, the straight, white-girl collective hasn't actually gotten any endorsement deals.