Trans-identified male golfer poised to compete in women's Epson Tour

The admittance is supposed to allow for "unparalleled professional growth opportunities for women golfers.”


On Wednesday, a trans-identified male, Hailey Davidson won the NXXT Women's Classic golf tournament at Mission Inn Resort and Club, putting Davidson in line to receive one of 10 exemptions to play on the Epson Tour.

According to Reduxx, the NXXT says they are restricted to "female players," yet Davidson was allowed to compete. This year NXXT partnered with the Epson Tour to give 10 exemptions to their top five player intended to allow "unparalleled professional growth opportunities for women golfers.”

The Epson Tour is the qualifying tour to earn a spot on the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) tour. Taking two exemptions from female athletes, Davidson is one step closer to being the first male athlete to compete on the professional golf tour.

Boasting about the win in a post on X, Davidson said, "I was finally able to get my 4th professional win after two playoff holes… Also moved me into 1st place in the season rankings for two Epson Tour exemptions!”

When asked for clarification on its policy for male athletes competing in ladies' golf tournaments, NXXT Tour Director Bennett Noe told Reduxx, "The LPGA has a comprehensive Gender Policy that allows transgender athletes, including those who have transitioned from male to female, to participate in its events." She continued, "This policy requires transgender athletes to provide a declaration of their gender identity, proof of gender reassignment surgery, and evidence of at least one year of hormonal therapy maintaining testosterone levels at a specified range. It also includes provisions for confidentiality and the recognition of decisions regarding gender verification made by other golf tours or sports authorities."

"This alignment across the NXXT, LPGA, Epson Tour, and USGA ensures a consistent approach towards transgender athletes, emphasizing fair competition and integrity in the sport," Noe concluded.

Co-founder of the International Council on Women's Sports, Marshi Smith told the outlet, "The NXXT tour is claiming just because their policy is uniformly and consistently unjust alongside the Epson Tour, LPGA and USGA that somehow that ensures ‘fairness and integrity in the sport.'" She added, "It is precisely the opposite. The question they must answer is ‘Do women deserve access to fair competition?’ If yes, they must adopt simple and clean rules that create a female-protected category without exception.”

In 2022, Davidson blamed transphobia for criticism when it appeared as though the golfer was on the path to becoming a professional golfer on the LPGA. "I've seen that it's not about protecting women's sports or me having an advantage, it's just that you don't like trans people," Davidson said on the Lik It Is podcast.

Before undergoing hormone replacement therapy and sexual reassignment surgery in 2021, the last time Davidson competed was as a male golfer in 2015. In 2021, while trying to fundraise for qualifying school, the golfer said, "I know I have what it takes from being around professional golfers on the LPGA/PGA/Champions Tour over the recent years and staying very competitive with them all."

Davidson finished three shots behind 2010 Women's Open champ Paula Creamer.

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