You would have thought Kim Kardashian was teeing it up, such was the gnashing of teeth among the golfing sisterhood in Dubai this week.
The appearance of Paige Spiranac as an invitee at the Omega Dubai Ladies Masters was seen as an affront to the integrity of the women’s game. How could this fledgling pro from the United States end up in the field at the Ladies European Tour season finale?
It is true Spiranac did not earn her place in the field on the strength of her record. Nevertheless, two rounds the right side of 80 and a shoulder turn that Rory McIlroy would be content to call his own proved she can play. She missed the cut, but five finished below her, including the European Solheim Cup captain, Carin Koch, and Hannah Burke, who won her maiden tour title in the Czech Republic in August.
It appears Spiranac’s crime is to love herself so completely that she empties across social media endless selfies in which key parts of her anatomy are revealed in a flattering light. If that kind of stuff takes your fancy there is more of it at her YouTube address. What a tawdry step, then, to invite Ms Spiranac to leave America for the first time to parade around a golf course on the pretence she was there to contest a tournament.
Perhaps it is her brazen narcissism that offends. How funny. Cristiano Ronaldo and David Beckham are paid millions to pose in their pants with eyebrows threaded and pecs buffed. Does the fact of their excellence at football make acceptable their insatiable appetite for lucrative self-promotion?
Instead of visiting opprobrium on a young woman guilty only of gormless vanity, we should applaud her for having the nerve to step out of her protective cocoon to be judged on more exacting criteria. And she didn’t invite herself.
It is a pity that women value themselves so little as to feel appearance and the projection thereof is the quickest route to the loot. Given her lack of experience in this kind of setting, it took guts to walk on to that first tee surrounded by green-eyed gorgons willing her to fail. You can imagine the joy that rippled around the Emirates Golf Club when she snap-hooked her opening tee shots 20 yards left, and the misery when she recovered to make her par.
Of course her appearance at the event had tons to do with the way she looks, but in case you hadn’t noticed, 21st-century sport is a business that relies on its commercial relationship with sponsors to keep the participants in Baby Bentleys and Prada. So what if she was a hook to raise awareness of the event? She is a legitimate golfer and it worked.
Not one column inch in a newspaper or internet page would have been spent on the Omega Dubai Desert Masters had Ms Spiranac not appeared. As a consequence you now know that a brilliant Chinese golfer by the name of Shanshan Feng leads by five going into the final day.
The invite mechanism has always been used to introduce young golfers to the elite setting. You never know, as a result of her mad immersion Ms Spiranac might be motivated to work that little bit harder to make the cut next time. Wouldn’t that get tongues wagging?
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