Women golfers take it off

Are they saving the sport? Or just changing it entirely?

By Tracy Clark-Flory
Published December 6, 2006 12:06AM (EST)

Today the lineup was announced for the upcoming Australian Women's Open. So, too, was the lineup of female Aussie golf pros taking it off for "Top Shots: Women of Professional Golf 2007." A sneak peak at the calendar reveals lots of bare skin creatively juxtaposed with golf balls, golf clubs and golf courses. Seems promising!

Paul McNamee, tournament director of the Australian Golf Open, celebrated the project, saying that "most women's sports at some point have needed to get out there and do something off the wall. It took just a bit longer for golf to do that." (Still, this isn't the first time women's golf has seen tasteless promotional tricks -- remember the Sports Illustrated feature showing golf phenom Natalie Gulbis posing with pots and pans?) Regarding the calendar, McNamee also added defensively: "They actually didn't go the whole way -- let us remember that."

Upon the announcement of the AWO lineup, McNamee, who called "glamour" an essential trait for women's golf, offered, "women's golf in Australia never looked better." Never mind that these ladies have serious game.

LPGA player Shani Waugh, who was not chosen for the calendar, didn't seem too enthused about the whole thing: "In an ideal world, we wouldn't have to do it," said Waugh. But, she added, the calendar has at least shoved women's golf into the spotlight.

And that certainly seems to be McNamee's aim. During the women's competition he plans to extend the "spectator initiatives" already established in the men's game. "We are going to extend the go-zones for ticket holders, allowing spectators to get closer to the players." Here's hoping they stop short of offering lap dances between holes.

Tracy Clark-Flory

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