I am not a golfer, but I paid a little attention to this Annika Sorenstam issue. While not exactly certain how I should think about the matter, Andrew Sullivan has a good long paragraph on the matter:
"Yes, shes sexy. But the way in which the public rallied behind Annika Sorenstams pioneering golf game was surely because of something else: she represented an old, pure form of feminism, a message that has been somewhat lost in the politically correct culture wars of the last decade or so. Sorenstam, after all, was not portraying herself as a victim of male oppression. Shes a fabulously successful sportswoman, a wealthy celebrity, and happily married. She wasnt asking for special treatment in any way. She played exactly the same course, under exactly the same conditions as her male peers. Despite the fact that womens courses are generally shorter and less troublesome than mens, Sorenstam played with the big boys - and beat many of them. And shes refreshingly free of political posturing. Shes not aiming to be a feminist icon. Shes trying to play golf as best she can against the best competition in the world. She is also not attempting to deny the obvious: that there are significant differences between men and women. The more we learn about the impact of hormones such as testosterone and estrogen and the deeper our understanding of evolutionary psychology, the clearer it is that some differences - in physical strength, subtle mental attributes, emotional temperament - can vary with gender. Thats why we dont have co-ed sprinting races or expect women to compete with men in the shot-put. But what we have in common as human beings vastly overwhelms what differentiates us as members of one gender or another. Sorenstam is a pioneer in accepting this, and reveling in it. Shes not indistinguishable from the men; but she is competitive with them. Shes different but equal. Americans are far more comfortable with this kind of social message - and for a good reason. Its about integration, not separatism. Its about personal achievement, not group grievance. Its about merit, not complaint. Its about golf, not politics. Sorenstam cannot be accused of claiming any "special rights." Shes embracing the old American virtue of doing your best against the best, and not letting anything - gender, race, class, religion, sexual orientation - get in the way. That was once the core, simple, unifying message of the civil rights movement. Odd, isnt it, that it took a Swedish female golfer to remind us."