My esteemed colleague E. Michael Johnson took quite a beating in the comments posted to our inaugural He Said-She Said debate on the GDW blog this week. While some readers agreed with Mike that there's no depth on the LPGA Tour, most thought he was dreaming when he predicted that he (at a 5.7 Index) could occasionally beat a bottom-half LPGA player. To his credit, the strong comments didn't bother Mike. "They're not reading the whole thing," he said with a shrug. "I'm not claiming I'm better than these girls, just that I'd have a chance once in 10 times from 6,800 yards. And I'm talking about the bottom half. The top players would smoke me every time."
When you know Mike as well as I do, you know he's not back-pedaling. You also know that he's a bomber off the tee and a very good player whose current 6-handicap is either the biggest case of sandbagging in history, or simply a sign of spring rust. So I guess even I would have to admit that there might be a* microscopic* chance -- under the right circumstances and if the LPGA player has, say, pneumonia -- that he could indeed come out victorious once in 10 tries. But I maintain the stars would have to be aligned in a very special way for that to happen. And to even say it sends the wrong message, since we're talking about a fluke.
The bottom line in this discussion is that no matter how many times an LPGA player tees it up against PGA Tour players, there are still going to be a lot of conflicting views about the level of play on the LPGA Tour. The heated opinions on the topic expressed both in the comments here and on Twitter (where you can follow Mike @EMichaelGW and me @StinaSternberg) only support that. Perhaps the best way to find out how these girls stack up against the Mikes of the world would be to actually stage a match between some regular "good" male players (i.e., the best guys at your club) and a few LPGA Tour members. I'm not saying I could make it happen, but would you watch? And where would you put your money?
*--Stina Sternberg *