Gender-based Golf Competitions May End 0 6

(ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.) March 19, 2011 — This week’s $15,000 jury award to a woman denied entry into a Cape Cod amateur golf event for men may mark the beginning of the end for gender-restricted golf competitions.

Elaine Joyce, 46, of Yarmouth Port, Mass., sued Dennis Pines Golf Course and the City of Dennis when she was denied entry into a 2007 men’s championship event, The Boston Globe’s online edition reported.

It’s only a matter of time before further court tests spread across the country, but it’s unclear whether a reverse case — a man seeking entry into a women-only event — would have the same success.

In New Mexico, it’s been more than 18 years since a local attorney threatened suit against Albuquerque Country Club for relegating women players to non-prime tee times on the weekend. The threat led to a change in ACC’s exclusionary tee-time policy.

— Dan Vukelich

Elsewhere: If you want to join Jimmy Kimmel and have a little more fun at Tiger Woods’ expense, check out this highly edited “Good Morning America” clip

… South Korean PGA Tour Pro K.J. Choi donated $100,000 to Japanese earthquake victims. Ryuji Imada has a contingency charity plan: $1,000 for every bordie he makes at the Transitions Championship.

The world waits on word from the Japanese contingent, many of whom will be on stage shortly at The Masters.

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Ewart Wins Euro Ladies Tour Qualifier 0 6

(MURCIA, SPAIN) Jan. 20, 2011 — Former Lobo golfer Jodi Ewart won the Q School event to gain full status on the 2012 Ladies European Tour. She had already won full status on LPGA Tour.

Ewart claimed first place in the Euro qualifier on Thursday in Murcia, Spain, finishing five rounds on the La Manga North and South courses at 11-under, edging Swiss amateur Anais Maggetti by two shots. Ewart, 24, held the top spot for the final four rounds.

“I mean, fourth on the LPGA and now winning the LET; it’s a pretty good off-season if you ask me,” the Yorkshire, England, native said. “It feels good and I’m really looking forward to this year.”

Ewart heads home to Florida before beginning her inaugural LPGA Tour season Feb. 9, at the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open in Victoria, Australia.

The interview below was shot by us as she finished her Lobo golf career.

— Dan Vukelich

PING CEO: Change the Golf Ball, Save the Courses 0 4

(PHOENIX) Jan. 3, 2012 –The chairman and CEO of Ping says three different balls should be approved by rule-makers — one longer, one the same as and one shorter than balls currently approved for play.

Shorter balls could then be mandated as a condition of play on classic courses hosting PGA Tour events — keeping them competitive. Longer balls could be allowed for amateur play. Ball distance could even be factored into handicaps — like course slope ratings, says PING head John Solheim.

The proposal is a radical departure from the principle underlying the Rules of Golf that a single ball with a single distance limit be played by players at all levels, even though many golf authorities believe the length of the modern golf ball is the single biggest factor in making some of the great courses of the 19th and 20th centuries obsolete for professional play.

In a letter to the USGA and the R&A, Solheim proposed  a “Ball Distance Rating System” to categorize balls into three distance categories. “This concept addresses the unique talents of the top 0.1 percent of the world’s golfers without hurting the other 99.9 percent,” Solheim said.

A “silver dot” rating could apply to balls that conform to the current distance limits, a “gold dot” rating to balls that are longer (perhaps 30 yards longer), and a “bronze dot” rating for balls that are shorter than today’s ball limit (again, maybe 30 yards shorter),” Solheim said.

“More BDR levels could be added, if needed, to address future increases in driving distance by Tour professionals,” he said.

“Most courses hosting professional tour events were built with, or have added, sufficient length to challenge the world’s best golfers. Perhaps a small number of tournaments, those played at some of the game’s classic courses, would find it exciting to put the original design elements of the layout back in play by requiring shorter rated golf balls,” he said.

Higher handicappers could play a longer ball to make them competitive against longer courses, Solheim said.

Click here for John Solheim’s complete statement.