Transgender golfer Hailey Davidson admits she is still “so incredibly far from the LPGA Tour with a lot of work to be done to possibly earn my way there one day” after winning an all-women’s event in Florida earlier this week.
Davidson – who made it through Stage One of the LPGA Q-school last year – lifted the NXXT Women’s Classic trophy at Howey-in-the-Hills recently after recovering from three shots back with two holes left to force a playoff. The Scottish player went on to clinch her first victory in an all-women’s event for two-and-a-half years after birdieing the first extra hole and then making par on the second.
Reacting to her success on Instagram, Davidson – who is originally from Scotland but now lives in Florida – said: “I had come so close lately with a playoff loss 3 starts ago to then finishing one back last week, but this is why you never give up no matter where you think you are at in a tournament! It’s never over until that last putt goes in on 18 so push till the end!”
The 30-year-old made history in 2021 when she became the first male-born golfer to win a professional women’s event – six years after she competed as a male for the final time. Since then, she has expressed her desire to be the first transgender athlete to compete on the top tour in women’s professional golf.
In order to do that, one possible route would involve moving up through the Epson Tour – a developmental circuit below the LPGA Tour which has a partnership with the NXXT, formerly the East Coast Women’s Pro Golf Tour.
The NXXT Golf Tour says it is “at the forefront of a progressive transformation in women’s professional golf, embodying the vision of “Inspiring Today, Defining Tomorrow” and wants to present “an exciting reimagining of the sport, devoted to fostering inclusivity, equality, and a heightened profile for women’s golf on the global stage.”
But while the agreement between the NXXT and Epson tours say that the top-five point scorers in the former’s season-long race should earn two starts in the latter, 10 NXXT events must average a field of 40 or more players for that to occur. In the latest three-round event, Davidson was up against just 24 other golfers.
Since winning in Florida, Davidson posted on Instagram again, responding to her critics and insisting she is all too aware of the amount of work she will need to put in to reach her ultimate goal.
Davidson said: “It’s always interesting how no one gets angry until there is any form of success. While this win was amazing, unlike every article is saying, I am so incredibly far from the LPGA Tour with a lot of work to be done to possibly earn my way there one day. I will never allow hate to win, especially when based on some misinformation. Keep swinging and Flush It!”
Davidson’s story is not dissimilar to that of Breanna Gill, who was at the centre of another debate around transgender athletes following her victory on the Women’s PGA Tour of Australasia last summer. Gill also needed a playoff to land the top prize, sinking a birdie on the first extra hole at the Australian Women’s Classic at Bonville Golf Resort.
Following her success, however, a tweet from the Women’s PGA Tour of Australasia congratulating Gill received a great deal of abuse after being viewed over seven million times. Despite comments being turned off shortly after publication, many of the 3,000 quote messages were also negative, leading to the original post being deleted.