"I started playing golf when I was six and hit it far because my muscles grew with my game," says Donna Caponi, who won 24 LPGA events and is now a television commentator. "All of these girls today start young. Would Tiger Woods hit it as far as he docs if he hadn't started until he was 16? Probably not."
Golf instruction is better, too, thanks to video cameras. "There's not a woman's swing and a man's swing anymore, there's a golf swing," says LPGA veteran Chris Johnson. That explains why the Senior tour features so many distinctive swings while the PGA Tour and LPGA don't. "The modern player takes the video recorder out on the range every day," Caponi says. "All the swings basically look the same. Karrie Webb's swing looks just like 95 percent of the men on Tour."
The long hitters haven't completely taken over, and probably won't as long as players like Annika Sorenstam and Liselotte Neumann wield seven-woods like master surgeons. The finesse players are also aided by the way the LPGA sets up tournament courses. "From my standpoint, it feels like we're forced to put it in reverse and not be as aggressive as we'd like off the tee," says MeGann. "The tour definitely doesn't cater to the long hitters. It's a touchy subject. They never move the tees back on holes that play fast and short, but they don't have a problem moving the tees up on holes that play long. To me, it's still a putting contest every week."
Davies goes weeks without hitting a five-or six-iron, unless she happens to run into a short par-5, but disagrees with McGann. "You can't set up a men's course for Tiger Woods and John Daly, just like you can't set ours up for me and Michelle," she says. "You've got to set it up for the average hitter. But if anyone asks me if the course is long enough, I'll always say no. It never will be for me. I dream of a 400-yard par-4."
Must be a gal thing.
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