Golf: “Gentlemen Only Ladies Forbidden”
That is the legend of how golf got it’s name. However, it seems a couple of PGA Tour players are doing their best to improve the game’s anti-female image.
The Tiger Woods infidelity scandal, the John Daly domestic abuse case, Muirfield’s anti-ladies policy… the game of golf has its fair share of headlines that would inspire women’s rights groups to take note. Historically the game has been geared towards men, and at clubs around the world husbands escape their wives on the weekend to get out on the links and enjoy their favourite sporting pastime.
Cue: Steve Stricker and Hunter Mahan.
Two weeks ago Steve Stricker announced that he would not be traveling to The Open Championship, choosing instead to spend his anniversary with his wife.
The 46-year old had played 27 consecutive majors and, despite a reduced schedule, has 5 top-10s in 8 events in 2013, amassing more than $2.3m along the way.
3 weeks ago, Stricker posted rounds of 67, 66, 69 and finished inside the top-10 at the John Deere Classic. With several other top names at the event jumping on a plane to Muirfield, Stricker returned home to his wife, skipping the oldest major in golf, to spend his 20th wedding anniversary with his wife Nicki.
“I’ve played in a lot of majors, consecutive majors over the last six or seven years, and to not go over there, it will sting a little bit when I’m watching it on TV. But we are going to be in a better place.
I’ll be around up north, like I said. We’ll be doing some fun things. So my mind will get off that rather quickly. But for a guy who has not won a major and trying to win one still, that’s probably not the best way to go about it, but that’s the way I made up my mind earlier in the year and sticking with it.”
A veteran-husband from a veteran player. However, a week later and Hunter Mahan may have upstaged Stricker.
Last Sunday, Mahan was in the final group for the second straight major, teeing it up in Scotland alongside Lee Westwood. Looking for his first major victory, Mahan shot a final round 75 to finish in a tie for 9th, his second straight top-10 in a major.
Rather than taking time off and enjoying his $175,582 cheque, Mahan flew to Ontario to play the RBC Canadian Open.
Opening with rounds of 67 and 64, Mahan sat atop the leaderboard by two shots, just the third time in his career Mahan had lead going into the third round. With just 5 wins from 276 PGA Tour starts, it seemed Mahan was in a great position to put the memories of Sunday’s final round at The Open behind him. However, before teeing off on Saturday, he withdrew from the event.
Mahan’s wife, Kandi, was going into labour in their hometown of Dallas.
“I received exciting news a short time ago that my wife Kandi has gone into labor with our first child. Kandi and I are thrilled about the addition to the Mahan family and we look forward to returning to the RBC Canadian Open”
With a winning cheque of more than $1m on the line, Mahan had no doubts about leaving the event to be his wife. Mind you, Kandi is a Dallas Cowboy cheerleader.
“It’s one of those situations where you probably wouldn’t expect him to have to leave. But sometimes that’s just how it works.” Dustin Johnson, Mahan’s partner the first two rounds.
Hunter and Kandi welcomed daughter, Zoe, to the world Sunday morning.
Believe it or not, the story gets even
sappier better. Eventual winner of the Canadian Open, Brandt Snedeker, promised to use some of his £650,000 winning cheque to buy the baby a present:
“Zoe will be getting a very nice baby gift from me. I can’t thank Kandi (Mahan) enough for going into labour early, otherwise I don’t know if I’d be sitting here if she hadn’t.
But that is a way more important thing than a golf tournament. I missed a golf tournament when my first was born and it was the best decision I ever made.”
So there you have it, the latest edition of PGA Tour Husband Of The Week. Tune in next week, when Luke Donald is expected to sell all his golf clubs to fund his wife’s new walk-in wardrobe.