Women's Australian Open: Sex Sells
BY Anthony Powter | ALPG Tour | 2007 Women's Australian Open | General | 30 Jan 2007
It’s the old adage and I hate to use the “S” word, but sex sells and it sells sport in a big way. I’m instantly saying ten Hail Mary’s for using the word, but then again is there anything wrong with recognising that golf, and not just in the women’s game, appears to be changing, as a degree of style and shape evolves into the game.
The athletes – we can use that description with confidence – are increasingly becoming more fashion conscious, with short shorts, figure hugging garments, and various trinkets like belts all becoming the norm. It obviously helps if you have the body to go with it as many of the top rank players do.
Gone, it appears, are the days of sixteen schooners the night before and the two packets of Benson & Hedges, capped off with a few hours sleep before being introduced on the first tee. Whilst the characters associated with that swashbuckling brigade appeal to some, you’re also left marvelling at the dedication, discipline and approach taken by many of the modern tour players.
The promoters of this week’s Australian Women’s Open have unashamedly emphasised the glamorous side of women’s golf. Posters around the Royal Sydney Golf Club layout proclaim “Women’s Golf – it’s never looked better!”, with Natalie Gulbis featured.
At her first press conference for the Australian Open just after stepping off an international flight, American drawcard Gulbis appeared relaxed about the whole thing, not feeling it was at all a beat up.
“I think you have to have a combination of it all. You have to showcase the best players in the world and whatever you can do to market those players is positive. Anything we can do to bring out more fans to watch this week or to just tune into women’s golf in general throughout the season is good.”
Immediately following her media commitments, Gulbis was off to the gym; in other days, players may have gone back to their hotel or motel.
And perhaps that’s how all this started. In the last 15 years or so there has been a growing emphasis – not just in golf but in all sport – on fitness, training and looking the part.
Growing sponsorship and the charge for the corporate dollar has driven most of it. Money, like sex, also gets attention. The fans also are attracted to the glamour and style of international sports people.
With all the ritz and pizzazz attached to the events, a sceptic might wonder whether there’s any interest in skill.
The reality is a complete package is what the market wants as well as the sponsors and it there’s a little bit of the “S” mixed in, then that’s got to be a good thing.
Photo – Anthony Powter