The Guardian: Spiranac on a mission to change the face of golf - one hater at a time

Paige Spiranac has plenty to say. It was not obvious at last week’s Dubai Desert Classic when promoters broke with convention by hiring the 24-year-old as the tournament starter and player introductions were as far as Spiranac needed to go. No one, it must be noted, seemed altogether bothered that she was the first woman to take the microphone in place of the usual stoic European Tour man.

Do not dare suggest to Spiranac, a professional golfer and social media phenomenon, that her appearance was tokenistic. It is not as if the former college golf star, ranked lower than 1,000th in the world but with 1.2m followers on Instagram, has not heard the criticism before, but this time she is addressing it head on.

“When it comes to the golf industry, I know that people see me as a gimmick,” Spiranac says. “I don’t think I am. If I was a guy and I had the same social following, I don’t think people would call it a gimmick. They’d say it was great.”

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