THESE DAYS the world’s top men golfers can earn as much for simply showing up to a tournament as they can from winning it. Sponsors and television want to see the best players on show, not to mention the spectators, which is why there are howls of anguish at the prolonged absence of Tiger Woods from the tournament scene.
Which makes it all the more inexplicable why the USGA has not invited the current European ladies’ number one player to the US Ladies’ Open Championship at Pinehurst 2 following the men’s tournament.
Charley Hull, is currently number 34 in the world rankings, having starred in the first European Ladies’ triumph on American soil at the Colorado Golf Club in 2013, but the USGA only grants exemptions to women in the world top 25, although in the men’s tournament the top 60 two weeks before the contest starts are all exempt.
There are special exemptions but these do not seem to make a great deal of sense when one considers the undue haste that projected Michelle Wie into the limelight, even taking part in USPGA men’s competitions, failing to make the cut each time and by 14 shots at the 2007 Sony Open in Hawaii where one hard hearted journalist described her as the ‘Big Kwiesy.’
Wie was used quite shamelessly to increase ticket sales which makes it all the harder to understand why a player of the 18-year- old Hull’s undoubted talent with her enormously high profile when it comes to attracting more young women into golf will be teeing up at the Allianz Open in Slovakia rather than taking on the world’s best at Pinehurst 2.
The USGA says that it will be reviewing the situation for next year when it is considering granting exemptions to the top 50 ladies in world golf. But it is plain daft to exclude Hull, especially if women are to enjoy a similar standing in their major contests as the men do in theirs. After all, a 19-year-old Aaron Baddeley was granted exemption to the 2000 US Open at Pebble Beach, which will come as no consolation whatsoever to Charley Hull.