Paige Spiranac: The social media experiment gone wrong?January, 2016
American Spiranac endured a tearful professional debut in Dubai
There has been the odd occasion when the men, and the likes of Nigel Mansell or Ivan Lendl, have given it a whirl on the European Tour but nothing springs to mind in terms of anyone getting a start because of their social media status.
If you’re familiar with the name Paige Spiranac then you will be familiar with Instagram and/or Twitter. The Colorado native was unknown at the start of 2015 but, 99 Instagram posts later, Spiranac has 580,000 followers due to a) her looks and b) her ability to play golf/ perform trick shots.
Michelle Wie has the next most followers of any female golfer at 176,000. World No 1 Lydia Ko has 39,000. Laura Davies doesn’t do social media and, while wishing her well, said she didn’t ‘know her from a bar of soap’.
I’m old fashioned. I don’t like Facebook. The Twitter one, maybe one or two Tweets a year, or whatever you call it" – Dame Laura Davies In July, Spiranac received an invite to play in the Dubai Ladies Masters. At the time she cried in her room due to a mix of nerves and excitement. And that proved, sadly, to be the theme of the week.
This was the ï¬rst time the 22-year-old had left the States and while social media can be incredible at building up someone’s proï¬le, it can also work in the opposite direction.
Spiranac slept for 30 minutes on the eve of her professional debut and considered not playing after some negative comments. Her hands were shaking on the 1st tee and the only positive was that she hadn’t thrown up as feared. She shot 77, all perfectly respectable.
The following day, in a tearful interview after another creditable 79, she admitted that professional golf might not be the future.
“At the moment the clubs are going in the water. I’m going to go home to re-evaluate everything and see if golf is still in my future or not. I wanted it before all of this but I’m just not sure if I have it in me or if I’m cut out for all of this.”
On the upside, women’s golf was prominent in our UK newspapers, if only for the ï¬rst two days of the tournament.
Majors 2016: What can we expect?