Golf is a sport that has faces much opposition…
It is an old man’s sport.
It is posh. Expensive. Exclusive.
It is slow and takes too long.
It takes up too much land and too much water.
It is bloody difficult.
It is too traditional, requiring a jacket and tie. Who wears a tie these days?
And worst of all, it is sexist. Until recently, the venerable club of Muirfield, Scotland did not allow female members and it only relented to ensure that it remained as a venue for the Open Championship.
Some of these accusations are true. The game is bloody difficult. It is too long at 18 holes. But it is making strides to address these issues and to become more inclusive and open…
Lee Westwood – former world number 1 – is an ordinary lad from a normal background. As is Ian Woosnam (former world number 1) and Ian Poulter (former world number 5 and Mr Ryder Cup)…
And women golfers are becoming the lifeblood of many golf clubs desperate for new members.
But on this delicate matter – I am uncomfortable with the European Tour arriving in Saudi Arabia this week.
But Saudi Arabia is our ally will be the cry.
And the Saudis are addressing the inequality that their women endure.
Is that right?
To any rational person, Saudi Arabia is a repugnant regime.
But, women can drive cars now. And this is progress, surely?
Yes and what of the Saudi women who bravely protested at the driving ban. Where are they now? In their Mercedes and Jaguars, you might imagine?
No. They were jailed and I imagine, where some of them. Akin to the women in Iran who protested at the Burkha – jailed also for their trouble.
Another accusation levelled at golf is the obscene amounts of money swilling about in the game – and I am afraid that the tours decision to include Saudi Arabia on its roster plays in to this too easily.
Like Qatar and Russia getting the World Cup and the money exchanging hands for this – it is easy to imagine the lobbying and the petro-dollars by the Saudi’s to get a golf tournament and no doubt the big ticket players will do very well also and whether they make the cut or not.