Some of the biggest names in golf have turned to social media to express their outrage after a girl was denied a golf trophy because of her gender.
Playing from the same tees as the boys', Emily Nash finished four shots clear of the field at the Central Massachusetts Division 3 boys’ golf tournament, but was not allowed to take home the trophy because of a Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association (MIAA) rule prohibiting girls from entering the boys’ individual competition.
Her score did however qualify for the team portion of the event.
The MIAA issued a statement saying that Nash and her family had been aware of the rule before she teed it up in the event. The family have hit back saying that they were not.
The organisation has since issued a statement explaining the situation:
The MIAA Golf Committee, with a membership of school representatives from each district in the state, has worked over the years to establish and manage both a boys and girls golf tournament. In the case of golf, these tournaments exist in two different seasons. The boys team and individual tournament has taken place in the fall and the girls team and individual tournament has taken place in the spring. During a sectional tournament round of golf, a golfer’s score is submitted for both an individual and team competition at each location.
To offer an opportunity for team play to all MIAA member school students, female golfers have been welcomed to participate on a boys team in the fall if their school did not sponsor a girls golf team in the spring. Approximately 26 female golfers participated in 2017 fall boys golf tournaments. This opportunity has been met positively by many student-athletes and school programs. Given this team opportunity during the fall tournament season, it has been clear to participants that female golfers playing in the fall boys team tournament are not participating in an individual capacity. The individual tournament opportunity for female golfers takes place during the spring season. As stated in the official MIAA 2017 Fall Golf format, “Girls playing on a fall boys team cannot be entered in the boys fall individual tournament. They can only play in the boys team tournament. If qualified, they can play in the spring Girls Sectional and State Championships.”
We congratulate Lunenburg’s female golfer on her performance and wish her continued success as she participates once again in the MIAA Girls Individual Golf Tournament in the spring of 2018.
Nico Ciolino, who was awarded the first-place despite finishing four shots back, offered Nash his trophy. She declined to accept.
Annika Sorenstam was among those not happy with the decision: