The party line is that changes to the LPGA Tour’s clothing regulations are motivated by player feedback, as we know.
It’s not surprising, then, that most of the players Golf.com talked to about the collective buttoning up were pretty, well, buttoned up.
Christina Kim had this to say:
“I may sound like an old fuddy-duddy, but this is our place of business and I think players should look professional. Do you really need ventilation for your side-boob? It’s not going to make your score better.”
Jane Park agreed:
“Most of us keep things pretty conservative, so this only really applies to a few people. Honestly, I don’t see why everyone is making such a big deal about it.”
Well, part of the reason is the reversal, of course, toward more athletic wear on the golf course and driving range, as it were. The sad truth about the LPGA Tour is that it’s dominated by bland South Koreans most American’s don’t know or care about. This isn’t racism, it’s the truth. Poll American golf fans and this is what you’ll find.
And nobody is watching. Women’s U.S. Open ratings were absolutely abysmal. Women’s golf must innovate to thrive, and it can’t afford to be backward looking.
Additionally, with all due respect to Christina Kim and Jane Park, neither of you move the needle in any meaningful way. In contrast, Lexi Thompson hits golf balls in her workout gear. Michelle Wie wears the forbidden colorless racerback. In other words, it’s some of the most vibrant and popular players on tour who are being targeted by the new policy.
That’s a problem. And it’s part of the reason “everyone is making such a big deal about it,” Jane Park.
Mercifully, Sandra Gal had something resembling a reasonable take on the matter.
“The only point I agree with is that there should not be low-cut tops, but I’ve never really seen that be an issue. I think racerbacks look great on women and I think short skirts have been around forever, especially in tennis, and I don’t think it’s hurt that sport at all, considering they play for the same prize money as the men.”
“Our main objective is clear: play good golf. But part of being a woman, and especially a female-athlete, is looking attractive and sporty and fit, and that’s what women’s tennis does so well. Why shouldn’t we? I’ve talked to a few other players and, like me, they don’t agree with it, either.”
If the LPGA Tour is wise, they’ll listen to players like Sandra Gal, whose popularity is 10 times “fuddy duddy” Christina Kim and Jane Park combined. At best, the policy suggests the tour is out of touch and not focusing on real problems. At worst, it’s reactionary paranoia.
Either way, it’s not going to make the sport more appealing to the next generation of golfers or compel more viewers to tune in. It’s these issues, not joggers and leggings, the players and the tour ought to be concerned about.