LANCASTER, PA — During the U.S. Women’s Open, professional golfers, coaches, and women’s advocates, held an Our Bodies, Our Sports coalition press conference on Friday to protest Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) and United States Golf Association (USGA) rules allowing male competitors in the women’s category. The event was part of the coalition’s Take Back Title IX Summer 2024 Bus Tour across America, which is calling attention to the devastating impact the Biden administration’s new Title IX regulations will have on women and girls and building upon nationwide momentum to save women’s sports. 

After professional golfer Lauren Miller lost a first-place title at the 2024 NXXT Women’s Championship to Hailey Davidson, a male golfer who identifies as a female, NXXT Golf implemented a new, pro-woman, pro-fairness participation policy that requires all eligible players to be a biological female at birth. Davidson earned the first alternate spot for the U.S. Women’s Open and will continue to compete in women’s tours and tournaments.

Statements from professional golfers Lauren Miller, a leader in the professional golf world who has played over 56 holes alongside Davidson, and Amy Olson, former professional golfer who played on the LPGA Tour from 2013 to 2023 and won an NCAA record 20 collegiate events, focused on the need to restore equal athletic opportunity and fairness to the sport. 

Other speakers told the crowd of supporters and media that the LPGA and USGA must prohibit males from participating in the women’s category and establish rules that distinguish between the sexes. By implementing this change, the USGA and LPGA would maintain the tradition and spirit of women’s golf while ensuring a fair and level playing field for all participants.

Here is what they had to say:

Lauren Miller, 3x All American and current professional golfer, and Mississippi State graduate student: “My frustration is not against Davidson—he is a competitor and believes he is doing what he thinks is best. Who is failing female golfers is our legislators—the LPGA, USGA, and NCAA who govern and dictate the rules and regulations of women’s golf. They need to be held accountable and to recognize how their actions directly impact the livelihoods and futures of both aspiring and elite female amateur and professional golfers. I do not want to see the hard work and dedication of the trailblazers that have come before us to be erased. Sports are for everyone, but categories are paramount to allow men and women to thrive and showcase their talent and expertise. Women deserve their own space—integrity, truth, fairness, and safety must take precedence [over] inclusion.”

Amy Olson, former professional golfer who played on the LPGA tour from 2013-2023: “The experiences I had as an amateur and professional athlete are irreplaceable. But there is nothing more integral to sports than fairness. Many sports seek to create fair playing fields by segregating their competitors by age, sex, or weight class. This is fundamental to ensuring safety and competitive fairness. The U.S. Women’s Open was my first opportunity to compete with the best in the world. Down the street, the USGA is holding that same event 13 years later. I am asking them to be a leader for women and to protect the competitive fairness for the female championships they hold.”

Kara Dansky, president of Women’s Declaration International USA: “Article 7 of the Declaration on Women’s Sex-Based Rights re-affirms women’s rights to the same opportunities as men to participate actively in sports. WDI USA, my organization, stands firmly in support of female golfers, and we oppose the inclusion of men in women’s tours and tournaments. We call on the LPGA and the USGA to prohibit male golfers in the female category. Everyone knows that Hailey Davidson is male, including those who refer to him as a transgender woman. We are seeing male athletes all over the country being permitted to compete in women’s sports. This has to stop. Women and girls deserve so much better than this. I’m really encouraged to see that there is a growing number of female professional golfers who are banding together to stand up for women’s golf. I am here to urge the LPGA and USGA to do the right thing for female golfers.”

Selina Soule, 4x track and field National Qualifier forced out of regional championships due to males taking women’s spots: “There has been an explosion of male athletes entering women’s sports and taking away opportunities from deserving women and girls. In each and every case, the governing bodies set to protect the integrity and fairness of women’s sports have failed to act and take proper action to prevent this from happening. Now, the LPGA and USGA are failing in their duty, and they are allowing women to be robbed of the chance to succeed…. Sports are about biology, not identity.”

Paula Scanlan, Independent Women’s Forum ambassador and former University of Pennsylvania swimmer: “I attended the University of Pennsylvania, where I was a swimmer, and I was forced to change in the same locker room and compete alongside a male athlete [who] went by the name of Lia Thomas. My teammates and I were told that if we ever spoke out against Thomas being on our team, that we would spend the rest of our lives tainted by this, that we would be on the wrong side of history, and that we should seek psychological counseling because we had a problem with not wanting to lose our roster spots to a male and undress in front of him. I’ve seen this time and time again. I thought this experience was unique to me, but there’s a panel of women here who have experienced similar things … and this is really why it’s so important for us to talk about how our opportunities are not for males. Our opportunities deserve to be just for us, and being here in the state of Pennsylvania and having this happen in women’s golf too is just incredibly heartbreaking.” 

Riley Gaines, Independent Women’s Forum ambassador, 12x All-American swimmer, and host of “Gaines for Girls” on OutKick: “I couldn’t be more overwhelmed with the support and encouragement here. I can’t believe that we have to be here, but nonetheless we are. It makes me so happy to see all the young girls [because] let’s be clear—this is why we are here, this is why we are fighting. To hear constantly that this isn’t really happening: ‘Why are you guys creating a solution to a problem that doesn’t exist?’ We’re here to debunk that.” 

Coach Kim Russell, Independent Women’s Forum ambassador and former Head Women’s Lacrosse Coach at Oberlin College: “I have been affected so much by those thirty-seven words that were originally written for Title IX in 1972. It is because of that I got a college scholarship and was able to play two Division I college sports at William and Mary, get my first job out of college, work at Wimbledon, work in the professional golf world, and because of that work, I am so connected to what is going on right now in the LPGA world and in the rest of this world with men competing in women’s sports. I’ve also been a coach for over 28 years, a serial starter specifically of programs for girls and women, and was recently removed from my job as the head women’s lacrosse coach at Oberlin College because I believe that women’s sports are for girls and women only. It is not just taking away the opportunity to compete—it is grooming girls and women to be sexually assaulted …. Women are being harassed, so please keep speaking up.”

Coach Barbara Ehardt, former 15-year career NCAA Division I women’s basketball coach and current member of the Idaho House of Representatives from the 33rd district: “So many women have been affected by Title IX—some of us a little bit older that had to pave our way forward, and others are the recipients that now find themselves fighting the exact same battle that people like me and Coach Russell had to fight 45 or 50 years ago. This is sad. Yesterday, a few of us attended the U.S. Women’s Open, and we were able to watch those women compete. These women have put a lifetime into doing what they do, and they don’t want to compete against men, and they shouldn’t have to.”

Payton McNabb, Independent Women’s Forum ambassador and volleyball player who was severely injured by a male on a women’s team: “We’re going to fight for what’s right, and we’re not going to back down. I’m standing here today to represent not just myself but every female athlete behind me, because every girl deserves the right to fair competition.” 

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