Apparently, Annika Sorenstam's participation in the Colonial golf tournament has PGA Tour officials so on edge that they've brought in Judith Martin, perhaps better-known as Miss Manners, as a consultant this week. The hope is that Miss Manners can help the Tour's regular players avoid the sort of political incorrectness and social gaffes that tarnished Vijay Singh's victory in last weekend's Byron Nelson Championship. Page 2's crack investigative team uncovered this internal memo sent from the Tour's top muckety-mucks to the rest of the golfers in the Fort Worth field. Clearly, it bears Miss Manners' fingerprints.
May 19, 2003
To: Bank of America Colonial tournament players
From: The Office of the Commissioner
CC: Ty Votaw, Commissioner, LPGA
SUBJECT: Annika Etiquette
Dear Gentle Golfers:
These are unusual times on the PGA Tour. As you know, Ms. Sorenstam has been granted a sponsor's exemption into the Colonial field. It is therefore incumbent on all of us to treat our guest with the utmost respect while she is among us. I expect each and every one of us to conduct ourselves with the dignity that has long been a trademark of the PGA Tour.
To further that aim, we are providing a few guidelines to help you navigate the potentially treacherous waters of an encounter with Annika or about Annika. Please keep these suggestions handy, and feel free to refer to them on those occasions when you have questions about appropriate behavior while in Ms. Sorenstam's presence, or if you are uncertain about the proper response to media inquiries concerning Ms. Sorenstam. If we all follow these simple do's-and-don'ts, we are confident we can emerge from these trials as a better and stronger PGA Tour.
We acknowledge the difficulty many of you may have adhering to these guidelines. But please remember that we will expect the same courtesies from our friends who play on the LPGA Tour when one of you receives a sponsor's exemption into one of their tournaments.
How to conduct yourself if paired with Annika:
- You are all accustomed to the support systems fostered by your country-club wives. However, it is not considered good form to expect Annika to iron your slacks in the morning, put cream in your coffee or applaud when you make bogey. Most importantly, do not expect Ms. Sorenstam to kiss you after your birdie on the 18th hole wins the tournament on Sunday.
- Many of you have inquired if Ms. Sorenstam was ever a member of the Swedish Bikini Team. Our security people are continuing to research that question, but have not yet completed their investigation. Until they have filed their report with our office, we advise you not to broach the subject with Annika. If she raises the issue herself, then you are at liberty to pursue the conversation.
- Under no circumstances should you follow her into the port-a-potty.
- If Annika should outdrive you, it is not acceptable to pretend to curse in Swedish. The proper response is silence. Deal with it, people. Or blame your caddy for poor club selection.
- If you wish to make small talk during delays in the round, do not discuss the following topics: Mats Sundin choking in the playoffs, why you think Ikea products are cheap, Sweden's export of iron ore to Germany during World War II, or how much you dislike strömming. Acceptable topics include: Ingemar Stenmark's dramatic downhill run in the 1976 Winter Olympics, why you think Bjorn Borg is the greatest tennis player ever, or that crazy Jespar Parnevik.
In addition, it may be useful to know and follow these simple 'Don'ts' about your time on the course with Ms. Sorenstam:
- Do not slap her butt after a great shot.
- Do not tell her which club Vijay would have used.
- When approaching a puddle on the fairway, do not take off your shirt and place it over the water so that she can walk across without getting wet feet. While this gesture was once considered chivalrous, it is better left these days to athletes who have better "upper-body" shape than most golfers do.
- Do not give her your drink order.
- Do not suggest that you play "Texas Rules" golf.
- Do not ask her caddy if he'd be more comfortable wearing a skirt.
- Do not yell "It takes skin to win!" if she attempts to play a ball out of shallow water.
If you lose to Annika, it is not acceptable to do or say any of the following:
- "Yeah, well you've still got as many major titles on this Tour as Phil Mickelson does."
- "My mother always told me that if you can't say anything nice about someone, don't say anything at all."
In addition, you are advised to refrain from asking if that "little girl" will cook fried chicken and collard greens for the field at next year's tournament.
If you finish the tournament ahead of Annika:
- Offer solace by telling her that you'd rather play against a woman any day of the week than let some gimp in a golf cart on the Tour.
- Even if you mean it as an indication of your continued interest in furthering the women's sports cause, it is not advisable to show Ms. Sorenstam the poster of Anna Kournikova you keep in your bag.
- Do not say, "That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind."
- Suggest to her that despite the results, you still don't believe announcer Ben Wright's contention that "boobs" get in the way of a good golf swing. For this tournament only, you are allowed to mention Craig Stadler in this context.
- Do not suggest to her that, "At least sex and golf are two things you can enjoy even if you're not good at them."
Suggested Quotes for Media Interviews
Our public relations staff and consulting team recommend the following tried-and-true sound bites:
- "I want you to listen to me. I'm going to say this again. I did not have sexual relations with that woman. I never told anybody to lie, not a single time -- never. These allegations are false. And I need to go back to work for the American people."
- "We gotta play 'em one day at a time. I'm just happy to be here and hope I can help the ballclub. I just want to give it my best shot and, Good Lord willing, things'll work out."
- "Some time, when the team is up against it, when things are wrong and the breaks are beating the boys -- tell them to go in there with all they've got and win just one for the Gipper. I don't know where I'll be then. But I'll know about it, and I'll be happy."