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By Matt Phillips, Staff Writer
Give the Women a Chance!
Anyone know which golfer won the most tournaments in 2002?
Anyone know which golfer finished in the top 10 in 90% of tournaments entered?
Anyone know which golfer won more than half the tournaments entered worldwide?
Tiger Woods? No.
Phil Mickelson? No.
Wasn't Ernie Els, Sergio Garcia or Davis Love III.
It was Annika Sorenstam.
Sure, we people who follow sports know her name. How many people knew she was that good? I'm betting not many. She is one of the most dominant people in any sport, and her name is not a household one. If Tiger Woods had those stats, there would be... well, there are already plenty of things named after him. She IS the Michael Jordan of her sport, the Babe Ruth, the Jim Brown, the Muhammed Ali.
Sorenstam played 78% of her PGA Tournament rounds under par; Woods, 75%. Yet, Tiger Woods earned more than 2.5 times what Annika Sorenstam did last year. Why? Money. Sponsors. Media coverage.
Now, sure. Most Americans know who Venus and Serena Williams are. And yes, they are as dominating in their sport as most great champions; Serena just completed her "Serena Slam". Unfortunately for Serena, the final cog in this Slam came on the same weekend as the Super Bowl. Already, at 7:00 PM the next night, approximately 18 hours after the win, it is already the fourth story on ESPN.com, behind the NFL Hall of Fame inductees, Arizona's defeat of Kentucky, and the Dodgers' trade for Daryle Ward. Not to pick on Tiger again, but I'm betting that stories about his Tiger Slam were on the front page for about a week.
How about them UConn women? Did you know that they just set a record for 55 consecutive wins? What about Pat Summit's 800th win? She's the coach of the Tennessee Lady Volunteers, their women's basketball team.
Once again, not many people have heard of these, and, again, because of money and sponsorship. Unfortunately, these great athletes and coaches may never get their due. No matter how well women have done, they have not been seen in the same light as any men's sport. Some women's sports, like tennis, are getting more popular. The equivalent men's sports, however, are still way more popular. Why? Again, money. Sponsors. Media coverage.
How to solve this? It has to start with the media. I don't remember the last time that there was a woman on the back of Newsday. That's why I'm writing this article, as part of the media.
I'm not saying to go out and buy the jersey of the nearest WNBA team. Just give women's sports a chance. You may be surprised at what you see.
File last modified May 15, 2011
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