ider how far the Saudi government is already entrenched in the LET with five events that feature purses three times higher than most of the events around Europe.
If an LET member didn’t want to compete for Saudi money, she might have to consider finding another job. It’s not difficult to imagine an LPGA player having to one day do the same.
Stanford said she has asked herself hypothetically — if she had to play an event in China to keep her card, would she do it?
“I wouldn’t,” she concluded.
Years ago, when Renee Powell was competing on the LPGA in Idaho, a reservation she’d made mysteriously couldn’t be found at the player hotel. Kathy Whitworth heard about the trouble Powell was having and came to the front desk declaring, “Either we all stay, or we all walk.”
Powell was the second Black player to ever compete on the LPGA.
“How much pride I have knowing those women stuck together,” said Stanford, “and said ‘No, we’re all the same.’ ”
Choices that are made today impact the future.
Olson wants young girls in China to live out their dreams on the LPGA. Ultimately, she wants the LPGA’s efforts to further women’s rights in other countries and provide opportunities.
The LPGA’s presence in China has inspired young girls to take up the game and envision a career traveling the world. The same could be said for any country the tour has visited.
And yet, there are times when it’s necessary to take a stand and sacrifice those opportunities in the short term in order to create long-term change.
Ultimately each player must ask herself, where is the moral line? And then pressure the tour to hold that line.
To that end, what the LPGA says now publicly can’t be a political stunt or knee-jerk reaction, insists Olson. She instead would like to see a robust conversation about the tour’s values continue behind closed doors.
“My hope is that this generates a lot of discussion,” said Olson, “for us to talk about who we are, what we stand for and what we bring to the world. And that we are able to stay consistent with that in the long term.”
There’s simply too much at stake.