Do We Need the LPGA?

Before you freak out at me for being some type of misogynist jerk who does not believe in women’s sports, please understand that I am not trying to demean or denigrate female golfers in any way. Instead, I am going to argue for the LPGA to just merge with the PGA because I think the women can compete.

I decided to look into this question and discovered that a few sites have asked this question before and that even the PGA tour commissioner has said that they should have some joint events.

The biggest argument against combining is that men hit the ball so much further than women. This is not some sexist thing, the stats back it up. The leader this year for men is Rory McIlroy at 319.8 yards. Yani Tseng leads the ladies at 275.83 yards. That would put her at 205th place in driving distance. Just a little bit ahead of Ken Duke.

The other argument is to look at scoring averages. The men are typically better. Dustin Johnson leads men with a 68.601 average, whereas Ariya Jutanugarn averages 69.440. That puts her in 7th place between McIlroy & Henrik Stenson. You could probably make an argument that only five women average lower than 70; compared to 23 men.

You may be asking “so Josh, why would you want to combine?” Golf is a unique sport. You are competing against the other golfers, but you are also competing against the course. The men and women are playing the same course and in general, they are shooting similar scores. The only difference? The holes are shorter for women. For those of you that have never golfed, there are tees for women. So men and women could play the same course at the same time and still be competitive.

When Michelle Wie played against the men back in the day, she had to play from the men’s tees, which put her at a serious disadvantage. The question I have, is could the women compete if they played from a shorter distance? I decided to look up courses that have events for both genders. One of the is Shoal Creek Club.

The 2018 U.S. Women’s Open was held there and the PGA championship back in 1990. If you look at the tee distances, the women teed off about 40 yards shorter than the men. I am sure someone could come up with a target tee difference that would equalize them.

Once you take the distance factor out of the equation, then the women compare similarly to the men. Jutanugarn leads the women in putting average and would rank in the top 25 ahead of Justin Rose and Zach Johnson. Women actually have some better Greens in Regulation percentages than men and are fairly similar in sand saves.

So again, once you eliminate the distance difference, men and women would be on equal ground. I think combining would make the sport more interesting. I am not saying they should eliminate the LPGA. However, I think some of the big men’s events should allow women to participate. Again, from the shorter tees. I would love to see Jordan Spieth and Lexi Thompson competing against each other.

I think the women are good enough. If one woman wins an event, imagine how much interest that would generate for the sport, especially for all the young girls out there.