I think this may be the first Paige Spiranac update I’ve given this month. Shame on me for missing a few weeks during Women’s History Month, no less. I feel as though the honeymoon phase is over with Paige and myself. For the last few social media updates, I was a doting blogger, saying nothing but nice things about Paige and everything she had to say about golf. My tune won’t change much, but I’ve realized that all I’ve wanted to do is paint Paige into a corner.
I wanted so badly to just be able to say “Paige is this nice girl whose pro career didn’t really work out, but she’s still making it in golf.” That sounds nice, doesn’t it? That’s because it’s so easy to do, but it’s far from the truth. What I’ve learned over the past couple of months of vlogs, tweets, instagram posts, and random youtube videos is that Paige has a platform, and she’ll be damned if she doesn’t use it to the fullest.
She’s given swing tips that are general enough to apply to almost every swing, but aren’t totally obvious. She discusses ways to increase power and confidence over the ball, which is something that a lot of ‘quick fix’ golf youtubers don’t do. If you do check the video below, notice the FIRE knit head covers on her woods.
Paige also attended an event for Dustin Johnson’s golf school in Myrtle Beach, where she sat down with 14 year old Alexa Pano. Don’t feel bad if you don’t know who she is, in fact, it would probably be odd if you were just a casual golf fan and you did know who she is. Alexa was a star of the Netflix documentary “The Short Game,” which followed around several child golfers who were competing in a tournament at Pinehurst. Alexa has skyrocketed to junior golf fame and will be playing in the Augusta Women’s Amateur as the youngest player in the field.
It was interesting to see Paige interview Alexa and I think she did a great job of highlighting what Alexa is doing for women’s golf. Paige’s honesty and bringing herself into the interview is a refreshing reminder of how there’s a delicate balance of being highly competitive, but always keeping golf fun as a junior and beyond.
One of the best female junior golfers – @alexapanogolf
— Myrtle Beach Golf (@MyrtleBeachGolf) March 1, 2019
This week, Paige also took the bait that seems to always swirl around the Players Championship. For whatever reason, a popular topic during the tournament is whether or not the Players is the fifth major. It’s probably my least favorite discussion in all of golf. I think to look at majors and what makes them great, we need to look to history. I mean, at the end of the day, a major is just a name. Sure the purses are bigger and you get some neat perks for winning, but the desire to win majors goes back to the Bobby Jones era of golf. To this day, he’s the only one to win a proper grand slam, that is, all four majors in one year. He won the Open Championship, the British Amateur, the US Amateur, and the US Open all in a single year as an amateur. After retirement, he founded Augusta National with Cliff Roberts and that spawned the Masters, which led to the 4 majors we know today. The term grand slam came after sports writer, mentor, and friend of Bobby Jones, OB Keeler, called Jones’ grand slam the “Impregnable Quadrilateral.”
So really, you can’t have a fifth major on the PGA Tour. Adding a major or changing the lineup would make the majors just an arbitrary delineation of what golf fans and media consider to be the most important tournaments in golf. If that’s the case, what’s stopping us from calling the Tour Championship a major? Hell, let’s throw a few European Tour events in there. That Dubai tournament? Why not.
The fact of the matter is that the majors are rooted in history, and no matter how much Jacksonvillians want to call their home tournament a major, it’s not going to happen. That’s just something that the Twitter golf fans who think golf history started when Jack won his 18th major need to understand. So Paige gets it, but getting into the discussion on Twitter is the internet equivalent of getting into a yelling match over quantum physics with a fifth grader.
Now here’s where Paige has put my mind in a headlock.
As someone who has been laughed at and felt unwelcome by this organization and some of their players, I hope this is a positive step in the right direction! Love the message and hope we can all embrace our individuality while cheering each other on🙌🏻 We are stronger together! https://t.co/ig8vz6ViDh
— Paige Spiranac (@PaigeSpiranac) March 20, 2019
That’s a really strong statement from someone who is still trying to grow their name in the world of golf media. As the kids say, if you take a shot at the king, you’d better not miss. This is also where I realize that Paige doesn’t fit into the box that I thought she did.
To me, if I were to make a career in golf media, I would have no problem shutting my mouth and coloring inside the lines. If companies are paying me to engage with the public, I would really rather not make any enemies. Now this probably speaks to my lack of integrity because I really couldn’t picture myself speaking out against an organization that has a lot more power than me, even if they wronged me. Maybe that’s why I’m chronicling Paige’s social media for free in my spare time, while she makes a living doing the damn thing. It’s a strong statement she’s making and she’s absolutely not wrong.
The LPGA, at it’s core, is a business. Regardless of mission statements, charity work, or kindly worded campaigns, the tour is not a monolith with great intentions. It’s made up of a ton of people, some of which care more about their own success vice growing the game and making it approachable for women and girls. I don’t know who she is specifically speaking about in the LPGA, but I will say, coming at the players who criticized her is a little questionable. Without knowing what was actually said, I still understand if any players disagreed with Paige being given a spot in a professional event. Given that women’s golf is growing, but still drives significantly less revenue than the men’s tour, I could see why there would be controversy over a spot being taken by someone who rose to notoriety for reasons that go beyond just her golf skills.
Still, Paige took a stance and you really have to respect it. She did take a step back and provide some clarification.
Thinking about this tweet, I realized I was being petty with the beginning statement. And I apologize for that. I let my hurt feelings get in the way of the bigger picture..getting more girls involved in golf. I am and will always be in huge support of the LPGA and the players
— Paige Spiranac (@PaigeSpiranac) March 20, 2019
I think the most notable aspect about this statement goes back to what I said initially about Paige. No matter how people want to perceive her or lump her in with other social media stars or whatever, she doesn’t fit into a single mold or description of someone in golf media. She’s doing more than being just a writer or commentator and her potential and possibilities are seemingly endless. One moment she could be given playing lessons, the next she could be doing a steamy bikini photoshoot. She may be hosting a junior clinic one day and reviewing equipment the next. It’s clear that Paige has no plans to limit herself and her work ethic proves it.
I’m excited to see what kind of content and discussions she’ll get into next. There’s a lot more to cover, but I’ve been going on for a while, so that will be all for this week. Go Paige go.