Local Pro Denies Lady Golfer Access to Ladies’ Tees in Tourney


Texarkana, AR July 28, 2003 (Reuters)  A Female golfer invited to play in the Member-Guest Golf Tournament at Texarkana Country Club has been blocked from the Ladies’ Tees by head professional Art Romero.  Romero has exercised what he considers to be his discretionary power to require Rebecca Sims, herself a former professional, to tee it up with the men for the contest.


Claiming that Sims can out-drive most of the men in the tournament, Mr. Romero stands firmly by his decision.  By actual measure, Ms. Sims hits her tee ball in the 240 to 250 yard range.  (Annika Sorenstam, by comparison, hits it 265.)  However, further investigation has revealed that driving distance is not the sole qualifier in the matter.


The denial of rights cited by Romero also included a parenthetical aside in his decision reflecting upon the defeat of one of Romero’s male assistants by Sims in an earlier tournament.  This chauvinistic tee slap may be more an exercise of payback than discretionary power.


Another possible cause for this overzealous ruling lies deep in the psyche of Romero who is barely as tall as Sims.  It is the short man syndrome, perhaps, that brings forth this untoward behavior.  Standing in the entrance of the starter's tent he poses a towering figure, however, much like that of  Gov. George Wallace's entry-blocking image of many years ago.


It is said that at Oak Tree in Edmond, Oklahoma, the diminutive touring pro, Willie Wood, often passed on his old clothes to Romero, then an assistant pro there.


“He was the only guy in town who could wear them.  I tried to give them to a homeless shelter, but they declined my offer owing to the shortness of the pants,” Wood said in an interview, “He was always gracious, but he still had a chip on his shoulder.”


Thus Texarkana Country Club sets another milestone in its long history.  Just as it broke ranks from the past in hiring Romero as its first Hispanic professional, the club now establishes that only short-hitting women can use the Ladies’ Tees.  No longer can a brief visual survey determine the qualification of a player seeking to play from the Ladies’ teeing ground, but proof of driving distance must be presented in evidence.  (It is the writer’s belief that anyone who carries a purse and cries a lot should be granted access.)


A tearful Rebecca Sims shrugged the matter off with a one-line response, “Well partner, we’ll just have to kick their asses from the white tees!”


The three-day tournament begins on August 1 under a cloud of controversy.