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Golfweek, the golf publication “preferred by serious golfers,” has an interesting profile out this golf-week on Lana Lawless, 2008’s RE/MAX World Long Drive Championship women’s winner—-annnnnd—-a transgender person! Lawless seems pretty awesome—-she’s done a golf-media victory lap this year where she got to say things like, “That other person, that 245-pound SWAT cop I used to be, he’s gone. He’s not coming back.” So there’s no lack of material with Lawless. I’m betting, though that senior writer James Achenbach is wading in some uncharted Golfweek territory here, based on the awkward bookends of the piece—-his reluctant lede and sensational kicker.
Let’s see Achenbach’s lede. In a story titled “Long-drive champ shares her secret,” Achenbach starts off with a long, meandering, putt:
It has been a bizarre year in golf, highlighted by a player with a broken leg winning the U.S. Open. Hard to believe, but it was the only major championship of the year captured by an American.
At the recent RE/MAX World Long Drive Championship here at Mesquite Regional Park, the year grew even stranger.
The new world champion, Jamie Sadlowski of St. Paul, Alberta, is a Popsicle-thin, 160-pound, 20-year-old ice-hockey player who spectacularly carried a drive 400 yards in the air. (The finals will be aired at 3 p.m. Dec. 24 on ESPN and at 2 p.m. Dec. 25 on ESPN2.) Compared with the gigantic men who frequent this competition (2007 winner Mike Dobbyn was 6 feet, 9 inches, 280 pounds), Sadlowski was considered a freak-–-too skinny to be taken seriously.
Now they know. Sadlowski, like some other hockey players, uses a variation of his slap shot to generate tremendous clubhead speed in his golf swing.
Okay, that’s four paragraphs in—-where’s the “she”? Is Jamie Sadlowski a woman? Is the slap shot his/her secret? How am I still reading this story? Let’s check out the next graf:
Finally, again from the World Long Drive Championship, it is odd but true that the new women’s world champion is a 55-year-old bartender who used to be a man.
Finally, indeed! What the hell, Achenbach? It takes you 200 words to get to the transgender subject of your story? You’re really reeling us in here. It’s almost looks like you’re trying to prepare us Serious Golfers for a very un-Golfweek subject. It almost looks like you’re scared. Are you scared, Achenbach? Are you?
Okay. Let’s skip ahead past the golf world controversy, the sweet mother-daughter quotes, the obligatory clandestine cross-dressing memories, and get straight to the kicker. Give it to us straight, Achenbach!
As a sensitive women, Lawless knows what it’s like to lose. After falling 1 yard short in the 2007 semifinals and being eliminated, she had cried.
Cried herself a river, just like the girl she always wanted to be.
Not shying away from the subject matter any more, I see. “Cried herself a river, just like the girl she always wanted to be”? I would love to get a hold of the Ye Olde Golfweek Handbook of Feminine Cliché that Achenbach’s consulted here. But tell us, Achenbach, what happened next?
a. Lawless baked a pie, just like the girl she always wanted to be. b. Lawless ruined that pie, crying herself a river, just like the girl she always wanted to be. c. Lawless fucking won a long-drive competition, just like the golfer she always wanted to be.
Photo by Shayan (USA)