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Original Issue


In USGA circles, Tiger Woods has nothing on Hollis Stacy. Stacy
won her first national championship, the U.S. Junior Girls, in
1969 at the age of 15, then successfully defended the title the
next two years. After turning pro, she won back-to-back U.S.
Opens in 1977 and '78. When Stacy won a third Open in 1984, she
became one of only five players to accomplish the feat. Now 41,
Stacy has been a member of the LPGA tour for 21 years.

SI: What was your reaction when you first heard of CBS announcer
Ben Wright's alleged comments about lesbianism hurting the
women's tour?

HS: It really didn't surprise me. I've been hearing about
comments from TV people--and not just CBS, but all the other
networks--for the last 20 years. It's a sexist issue. It's a way
of putting us down, a way of keeping women down. It's
discrimination. You don't ask NFL players or NBA or baseball
players [about their sexual preferences].

SI: What did you think when many of the players, instead of
taking umbrage at Wright's comments, questioned the veracity of
the reporter who broke the story?

HS: The players were maybe naive. I think they thought, How
could Ben say such a thing? I don't think that [the players]
were skirting the issue. Still, it's awfully hard wearing a
sandwich board.

SI: How do you feel about the way CBS handled the controversy?

HS: I was disappointed that Wright was allowed to remain in
the TV tower that week. I think CBS should have said, "Ben,
take a break." Instead, it was pushing mud in our faces to have
him right back there. What that tells me is that CBS doesn't
respect women.

SI: How do you view corporate America's attitude toward the LPGA
and lesbianism?

HS: The LPGA is basically corporate America's dinner party, and
they can invite whomever they want. They're not ready for people
getting up and making declarations. The bottom line is corporate
America is pretty homophobic.

SI: Do you see that attitude changing anytime soon?

HS: I see it starting to change right now, because golf has
become such a huge business. Of course there are gay people on
this tour. It might be higher than the national average of 10
percent, but not much. Golf businesses want the best players.
They aren't going to look into private lives. They look at the
bottom line--can a player make money for me. More and more women
are starting to play golf, and they are not starting to play
because they are afraid of us. They like us.

SI: What do you think of the sponsorship, or relative lack of
it, for LPGA players?

HS: Women players' contracts are significantly--embarrassingly--
lower than the men's, and it's primarily because of TV. We're
just not on TV enough, and that is how the corporate people
justify it. Even so, the difference between the contracts for
men and women are way out of proportion. It's hard to swallow.
We need more exposure.

SI: From a distance of three months, what effect has the Wright
controversy had on the tour?

HS: It's turned out better than I first thought. We had so many
people, and all our sponsors, come out and support us. They see
golf as a business. There's a lot of money to be made with
women, and they're going to promote us.

SI: Ultimately, do you think the issue is lesbianism on the
women's tour or something else?

HS: I think people feel threatened by homosexuality. The problem
isn't about gay people, the problem is about the attitude
towards gay people. People think that all gays are Hannibal
Lecters. But gay people are sons and daughters, politicians and
doctors, American heroes and daughters of American heroes. It's
the attitude that hurts our tour.

SI: Do you foresee a time when an LPGA player will "come out of
the closet," a la Martina Navratilova?

HS: I can't see anyone coming out, because the players feel it
is no one's business. We all stick together. We're a very tight
group. It would be too hard for just one person to do, too
stressful. And why should it make a difference? The LPGA is
about golf.