Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Boy, do we live in strange times. The most popular shows on television are shallow pantomimes, based on lies, avarice, and deception, that rely on perhaps the oldest form of human entertainment -- the public humiliation of a previously exalted individual. We don't lock people in the stocks and throw vegetables at them any more; we toss them off the island or give the rose to someone else, but it's pretty much the same thing. Ha, ha, ha, you lose.

At the time of this writing, I don't know the outcome of Survivor's battle of the sexes, but it doesn't really matter, as we have our own little reality show going on in golf. Suzy does Hartford, Annika saddles up in Fort Worth, and now, as if to accelerate the demise of civilization as we know it, Brian Kontak wants to play in the U.S. Women's Open.

OK, I know I'm not the ref in this one, but I'm calling a TV timeout anyway. I need to get a couple of things straight here before I can move on with my miserable male existence.

What the hell is Brian thinking? Regulations for both the LPGA and the USGA women's events state that in order to qualify, a competitor must be born a female, which means that McCord might still have a shot, but the rest of us are screwed.

Surely the bottom line is simple common sense. Yes, Annika is taking away a spot from a veteran, or a rookie, or whomever, but this would only be a bad thing if the Bank of America Colonial were being run for the sole benefit of the Tour pros. I think this is hardly the case. Bank of America is doing this gig for the good of the company and its shareholders, so the addition of the best female player on the planet and all the publicity she brings with her is ultimately a very good thing for them.

These days title sponsors are hard enough to come by, and we need to take better care of those willing to commit this kind of money. Provided we can act like the gentlemen we're supposed to be and show these two courageous ladies the respect they deserve, this situation will benefit everyone involved. But if even one of us throws a Miss Piggy fit and demands to be allowed to play with the girls, he runs the risk of making the rest of us look like a pack of wussies.

This is not rocket science. Retaliation is only justifiable if there is something to be gained. Think of it in child ren's hockey terms and you'll get the idea. Two groups of children are playing ice hockey -- girls at one end of the pond and boys at the other. The girl goalie clears the puck, and the best girl skates into the middle of the boys to retrieve it.

One of the boys decides to have a little fun and knocks her roughly to the ice, upon which she gets up, forces her way through a forest of sticks, recovers the puck, skates around a couple of defensemen, scores on a backhand shot, and, pausing only to knock three teeth out of the fat kid who checked her, glides back to the girlie end.

Whoa, Nellie! There are a couple of ways to handle this. The boys can either do what boys do, which is form a pact among blood brothers to cover up the debacle and agree to deny that any of them was there when this never happened, or toss fatty off the team and ask puck-girl to join them.

The only truly fatal mistake would be for one of the boys to barge into the girls' game. Sure, he could look skillful and strong. Yes, he'd get more of the puck, and he'd score more goals, and no, none of the girls would think he was a hero. Or smart. They'd think he was a bully, a cheat, and a moron.

"So, you beat the girls? Well done, you giant of a man!" (Not.)

And now for Suzy, whose story I think is even better than Annika's. The thing about Suzy Whaley that's been glossed over is that she is a member of the greatest association in professional sport, the PGA of America. A PGA professional has to be a lot of things -- manager, mentor, merchandiser, coach, player, and sometimes, yes, I'm sorry to break the news, even a woman. Suzy won the right to play in the Greater Hartford Open by winning the Connecticut PGA Section, which until her historic victory had yielded only hairy champions.

And yes, she played from different tees, and at this point, for the benefit of those who seem to have a low threshold of understanding, let me re-emphasize that Suzy Whaley is a WOMAN! Suzy Whaley isn't taking this spot away from anyone; she won it, fair and square.

The story here is one of two ladies with enough self-esteem to take a chance, step up, and test themselves at a higher level, at which the opposition has an unfair advantage. And of one man who for some reason is convinced it'd be good idea to take a step down and see how he can do at a lower level where he clearly has an unfair advantage. In an attempt to imagine a positive outcome for Brian, I've arranged all nine of my brain cells into every possible configuration, and as far as I can tell, there are only two possibilities, neither of which is attractive. I'm going with the second one first.

B. Brian loses to a woman, or women.

A. Brian wins the U.S. Women's Open and cries at the prizegiving.

OK, I just thought of another:

F. Brian gets kidnapped by a posse of militant LPGA players who wax his entire body, smother him in Old Spice aftershave, and toss him naked into the offices of Maxim magazine. (This wouldn't be good, either.)

We simply have to stop Brian, even if it means a calculated intervention. I mean, it's not like this is a cut-and-dried situation where some poor sap has been locked up alone for days in a rubber room with nothing else in it but a giant, red button that reads "DO NOT PUSH."

There should be dozens of flashing neon signs between Brian and his desire to wind up in a situation where he would hit a tee shot miles past his closest competitor -- signs like "MAKE YOUR NEXT LEGAL U-TURN" and "STOP SMOKING THAT STUFF!" I imagine one of the first I'd notice would be "YOU WANT TO DO F&@*ING WHAT?"

Of course, we all just know there has to be some attorney working pro-bonehead in the middle of this one. Or maybe it's the television exec who dreamed up the concept for America's Stupidest People, or American Idol as some people call it.

As I said earlier, these days there's nothing more entertaining than astonishingly stupid people who are willing to make spectacles of themselves. The performers in these sad shows are obviously people who don't have anyone around who cares about them enough to tell them they're making enormous errors of judgement.

For what it's worth, I'm there for Brian, whom I suspect underneath it all is just a confused guy like me. Brian, unless you want every female at the table to stand when you get up to go to the squirtatorium, and for one of them to hold the door for you on the way out, please, for the love of Tim Herron in a tutu, stick to playing with the guys. I don't think it's possible, or for that matter even healthy, to have what some call equality across the board. And while I doubt we'll ever be regarded as the fairer sex, I think we should probably try to be fair when it really matters.

Mind you, it might be hilarious to watch. OK, pal, on second thought, go right ahead. Make America happy!

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