ORLANDO, Fla. -- It was, according to LPGA commissioner Mike Whan, "a one-sided vote" by players to change their constitution Tuesday and remove a stipulation that someone must be "female at birth" to compete on the LPGA Tour. The association, which was sued in October by 57-year-old California transgender golfer Lana Lawless, now will be open to persons who have undergone gender-reassignment surgery, putting it in line with other golf tours and athletic organizations around the globe.
"We got together as a membership and discussed it and walked through everything," Whan told Golfdigest.com. "It takes a little bit of education. All the lawsuit did is make us look at something we probably would have to look at anyway. It just forced us to look at it now. It was more of an education process. I can speak to that personally -- I got educated a lot in the last two months. All I did last night is share some of that education with the players."
As players prepared Wednesday for the opening round of the LPGA Tour Championship at Grand Cypress Resort, most seemed to take the development in stride.
"The girl on the Ladies European Tour [Mianne Bagger] is really nice, and I don't think there seems to be an issue over there," said Janice Moodie. "That's a big change [to have gender-reassignment surgery]. You have to go through all the psychological testing. A lot of stuff has to go on before you can actually say you're female. It's a lot more than someone saying, 'I'm on the PGA Tour and now I'm going to come play the LPGA Tour.' "
"If everything is in place, so to speak, then good luck," Laura Davies said of competing against transgender athletes. "You just want to beat the best players. If someone's the best player, how that came about it is none of my business really. It's not something that I would wake up and worry about."
-- *Bill Fields