MELBOURNE: Australia's Greg Norman has called for an end to women competing in men's golf tournaments, while world number three Ernie Els also expressed reservations about the growing trend yesterday.
Norman said women should stay in their “rightful” place on their own tour.
“I think everyone is just jumping on the bandwagon and it's got to stop,” Norman told a news conference at the Royal Melbourne Golf Club, where the former world number one will play in this week's Heineken Classic.
“I think the situation is more of a marketing ploy than anything else,” the 48-year-old two-time major winner added.
“If the girls come out and think they can play against the guys and fail every time, that can't be very positive.”
Former world number one Laura Davies will become the first woman to play in an Australasian or European men's tour event when the Briton tees up for the ANZ Championship from Feb 12-15 at the Horizons Golf Resort north of Sydney.
Davies is the latest female player to make a high profile appearance against her male counterparts.
Fourteen-year-old Michelle Wie narrowly failed to become the first female to make the cut in a men's PGA Tour event at last month's Hawaiian Open.
Sweden's Annika Sorenstam, who won two of last year's four women's golf majors, became the first woman in 58 years to play a PGA Tour Event at the Colonial in May 2003.
“I'm very impressed with her (Wie's) game, very impressed with her attitude and demeanour at such a young age,” US-based Norman said.
“But I think the rightful place is that women play on their tour and we play on ours.
“It all started with Annika, to promote herself and promote women's golf but at the end of the day it can be very detrimental.
“How do we stop it? It's up to our administrators to come up with the wording of our bylaws.
“The players have got to vote it in on a majority vote. We can't go play on their tour because we're not female, that's the wording they have in their bylaws. I think we should do something about it.”
Els told a news conference: “If they're doing it for the publicity stunt, you know, I'm not for it.
“If they're doing it to prove something to themselves, I can be for it but I'm not sure what the future is. I don't think there is much of a future for it.
“How many girls are going to be good enough to play?
“We can't keep on giving them invites if there are guys good enough to get sponsor's exemptions and don't get them.”
Els is defending champion at this week's tournament, which is co-sanctioned by the European and Australasian Tours.
The big South African heads the field, which also includes six-time major winner Nick Faldo of Britain and Australia's world number 13 Stuart Appleby. – Reuters