The Discrepant Lives of PGA Tour Wives

In the past PGA Tour wives tended to live their lives out of the public eye and under-the-radar.

When they did appear... a few times each year... it would be in feature stories or sidebars, where they'd be shown collectively raising funds for children's charities or visiting flood-ravaged neighborhoods. They were always giving back and they were always in a group.

Only when the Ryder Cup came around, every two years, did the story get blatantly glamorous, as WAGs appeared in evening gowns on their husband's arms at glittery galas.  There they became an integral part of the US-Europe rivalry and individual wives were featured in the press... if only for a fortnight.

When Elin Nordegren appeared on the scene in 2002  she quite naturally became the main focus among the golf wives.  For most of the remainder of the decade she set a standard defined by discretion and an extreme desire for privacy... so fans were left to speculate about what life was like for a PGA Tour wife, and many went with the simple assumption that all such women were uber-wealthy and leading highly cloistered luxury lives.

When, at the end of the decade, things fell apart at Chez Woods, the effect was that golf suddenly became fair game for tabloids. Privacy/discretion became a thing of the past. So I wasn't surprised yesterday to see that a group of PGA Tour wives purportedly shopping around a reality show.

The ladies involved seemed to be interesting, uninhibited and anxious to establish their personal brands and they were the kind of wives we never got to see in the past.  Their husbands are extraordinarily talented, but none of them are currently in the the top 10 or the top 50... or the top 100.  Only one of the guys has won and only one has ever made a Ryder Cup team.  I thought the show sounded promising, however, real-time reaction... courtesy of Twitter... was mainly negative, and the chief complaint appeared to be that because the husbands aren't top golfers the show would be boring and no one would watch.  I'm quite convinced that just opposite is true.  A story about women whose husbands were not at the top would almost certainly be more compelling.  Their lives would be less insular and more entangled... and the weekly specter of missed cuts and the looming possibility of a lost card would add a continuing element of suspense.

 Since rumors of the prospective program first broke, a couple of the women involved have denied they ever intended to do a reality show, so who knows if it'll ever see the light of day.  The one think I think we can be sure of is that we'll now be seeing more of the wives of PGA Tour players than we ever did in the past.

PGA Tour wives - Chase Hattan, Reverb Collective via
Elin Nordegren - via