Former major winner and Golf Channel commentator, England’s Karen Stupples, wants female golfers to receive the support and level of respect that they so richly deserve.
By Lewine Mair
As the next edition of Women & Golf is ready to hit the shelves on Friday 12th October, here’s a sneak preview of what you can expect when our columnist Lewine Mair interviewed Karen Stupples.
Karen Stupples is nowadays one of the finest golf commentators in the business, working regularly for the Golf Channel and also for BBC Five Live. However, there is nothing she can ever do in her new line of work to match her start in the final round of the Women’s British Open she won at Sunningdale in 2004.
With her then-husband having advised that she would need to get off to a fast start, she covered the two opening par fives in eagle, albatross. Or, to put it another way, 3, 2. She bolted past Australia’s Rachel Hetherington, who had been one ahead overnight and, though the round had its tighter moments, she eventually posted a 64 to finish five clear of Hetherington, with Heather Bowie and the great Lorena Ochoa trailing in third and fourth place respectively. Seldom can women’s golf have created more of a stir. Even Tiger Woods was said to have shaken his head in disbelief at an opening salvo which he would have loved to call his own.
However, on the day of this interview, Karen had other things on her mind ahead of her own achievements. The first was that she feels strongly that amateurs are seldom getting the backing they need if they are to stand a reasonable chance of taking off in the professional game. (She herself had to work part-time as a waitress to make enough money to play at the LPGA qualifying school.) And the second, that she is not so sure that professionals are getting the respect they deserve.
In the case of the amateurs, Karen, who is now resident in the US, says she has seen close up how the Swedes and the Koreans, to name just two nationalities, look after their own long after they depart the amateur ranks. “The Swedish Federation,” she explains, “have this house in Phoenix where their new professionals can stay and play for free. As for the Koreans, they’ve got an equally well-funded scheme to cover the cares and costs of their players while they’re gaining experience.”
“Personally, I don’t think there’s a case for the women arguing for equal pay...They’ve got to generate the same level of corporate interest as the men before they get that. All I‘m arguing for at this time is the same level of respect."
"The women on the LPGA and on the LET, for instance, work eight to ten hours a day, playing and practising on top of extras such as holding clinics for juniors at the various tournament venues.”
Image credit: Getty Images
This is just a snippet of Karen's full article in the latest issue of Women & Golf magazine. You can pick up Women & Golf, on sale from Friday 12 October, or click here to subscribe now to read the full feature and enjoy W&G delivered to your door!