I voiced my objections to the editors of SPORTS ILLUSTRATED immediately after reading Major Party: Women Go to the Dinah for the Golf and for the Scene That Has Grown Up Around the Tournament (GOLF PLUS, April 7) and have since learned that I'm not alone in my sentiments. In fact, I have been strongly supported by colleagues from inside and outside the golf industry—people such as Bruce Callis, the senior vice president of State Farm Insurance; Mark McCormack, chairman of IMG; John Solheim, president of Karsten Manufacturing; and Tom Wyman, the former chairman of CBS.
We believe GOLF PLUS made an inexcusable triple bogey by publishing a story about the so-called Dinah Shore Weekend—the lesbian gathering in Palm Springs that happens to take place concurrently with the LPGA's first major of the year, the Nabisco Dinah Shore. Here's why:
There are 25 million golfers in the U.S. and 45 million worldwide, and you can take it to the bank that they come in all sizes, races and sexual orientations.
For years, those in the industry have been aware of the Dinah Shore Weekend. Is there a formal association between it and the tournament? No. Has the LPGA made any attempt to formalize a relationship between the two? No. Then why does America's leading sports weekly see the need to forcibly draw a connection between the two?
There are now 43 events on the LPGA tour, an alltime high. A record 31 of those events are on television. Attendance records are being broken every week. Prize money has doubled in this decade alone. The LPGA deserves credit for the great strides it has made in emphasizing the quality of its golf and the personalities of its players as the core competencies of the tour. But the task becomes Sisyphean if false friends such as GOLF PLUS devote four pages to a nongolf story dealing with sexual orientation and only three to LPGA Hall of Famer Betsy King winning her sixth major championship.
Frankly, we feel that SI hit it way out-of-bounds by allowing the Dinah Weekend story to appear in GOLF PLUS, which would be better off focusing on birdies and bogeys rather than bacchanalics and bustiers.