Jewish World Review June 2, 2003 / 2 Sivan, 5763

Bill O'Reilly

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Consumer Reports

Teed off



http://www.NewsAndOpinion.com | A lot of middle-aged white guys are teed off because Annika Sorenstam got to play golf in a recent PGA event. At first, I couldn't figure out the angst. Surely, Annika is nicer to look at than most of these golf guys who often dress in green pants and yellow shirts. Are there no mirrors in the clubhouses?

I mean, here's a trim young woman walking around smiling and hitting the ball. So what's wrong with that? Well, there's plenty wrong with it, as I found out.

Based upon dozens of conversations with male golfers who take their hobby very seriously, I can now report that Annika's foray into the world of men's golf was looked upon as an intrusion into the very essence of maledom. The guys sense a threat to their fairway hegemony, and they don't like it one bit. Let's take it step by step.

Golf is boring; there's no question about it. You just whack a little ball and drive the cart and whack the ball and drive the cart ... I'm sure you get the picture. But while driving and whacking, guys talk. And what they say is not meant for women to hear. The entire golf dynamic in the USA is built around guys yakking amongst themselves, much like the ladies' lunch deal. And trust me, most American women do not want guys at their lunch table, even if they do happen to be Swedish.

So it really wasn't about Annika's golf game; it was about Annika being on the course at all. Once the dam breaks, many guys feel that women will swarm the tees, and all macho camaraderie will cease. The golf course is a refuge for the beleaguered American man who has to behave at home, at work and most other places. Out on the fairway he can curse and tell dirty jokes. He can scratch and snort and scream, and then drink what he wants in the clubhouse bar. He gets out of the house for five hours, and nobody's giving him directions in the golf cart.

So Annika Sorenstam ran into a male cultural buzzsaw that I believe she's clueless about. In Sweden, it's too cold to play golf most of the year. But here in the USA, the golf course is a primary male sanctuary. Even though some women have succeeded in taking up the sport, the guys generally don't like it. You think Bill Clinton wants Hillary on the green with him? You think George W. wants Laura in cart? WELL, THEY DON'T!

To be fair, I must tell you that I do not play golf. I did as a kid, and I was rotten at it. I have no patience for the game, and it's harder than it looks. Plus, I was a bachelor for many years, and there were few ladies on the links, so why waste my time? Standing around telling putter jokes and hearing about Big Len's monster drive held absolutely no appeal for me.

So I cannot feel the pain of male golfers, but I am beginning to understand it. American men today are under enormous pressure on all sides. Playing golf with the guys is a release, a therapeutic session where boys can be boys and get away from the demands of domestic bliss and the chaotic workplace. In that respect golf is good. If the guy can come home refreshed and happy, everybody around him benefits. Hey, it's better than a strip club!

Annika Sorenstam didn't make the cut in the tournament, and millions of guys cheered, albeit some silently. Annika stumbled upon something primal, emotional and crucial for many men. The boys need time away from the girls, and the golf course is a convenient escape. It's nothing personal, Annika, and please don't take it to heart. But the simple truth is, some guys simply don't want you around.

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JWR contributor Bill O'Reilly is host of the Fox News show, "The O'Reilly Factor," and author of the new book, "The No-Spin Zone: Confrontations with the Powerful and Famous in America" Comments by clicking here.

Up


05/27/03: The lynching of Bill Bennett
05/19/03: Get back home, Madonna
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07/01/02: Charity begins at home
06/24/02: Spinning a tale and the case for "Stupid White Men"
06/17/02: Blank those Europeans!
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06/03/02: On fighting evil
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05/20/02: Crimes against humanity
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05/06/02: Hide the children
04/29/02: 'Paul, Paul, Paul!'
04/22/02: Barbarians in the Church
04/15/02: Pray for peace, polish the weapons
03/11/02: Do no harm? Time to spank "Dr. Phil"
03/04/02: Promoting the general welfare
02/25/02: Who's responsible?
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01/07/02: And justice for none
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05/29/01: Graduation Day 2001
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03/07/01: All that's left in America
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01/24/01: I have been investigating Jackson's finances for the past two years
01/17/01: Sifting Ashcroft's record

© 2001 Creators Syndicate