Last week, transgender pro golfer Hailey Davidson continued a season-opening hot streak on the NXXT Golf Tour Winter Series with a win at the NXXT Women’s Classic at Howey-In-The-Hills, Fla.
The win, which came after a playoff against Lauren Miller, bolstered Davidson’s lead in the overall tour standing and enhances her chances of earning exemptions on the Epson Tour in 2024.
As she grinds through this week’s tour event in Orlando, the 31-year-old, Scotland-born Floridian finds herself the target of the usual anti-trans vitriol when a trans woman wins.
With her recent victory, the flak turned violent. Davidson stated to Golfweek Monday that she received death threats.
“When I won the first time, people lost their minds and then it went away for about a year,” she said in an interview with UK-based Sky News Monday. “Again, it happened about a year later so this is about the third or fourth time something like this has happened.
“No one really cares when I’m not playing well, but as soon as you play well, the whole world ends and it’s ‘I’m destroying women’s golf now’... It’s a selective hatred, I would say.”
NXXT Golf Tour CEO Stuart McKinnon put forth a statement Monday outlining the tour’s position on the issue and the response to Davidson’s win and two second-place efforts through five events.
“The NXXT Women’s Pro Tour’s policies, especially concerning gender, have been formulated in alignment with those of the LPGA and USGA,” the statement reads.
“When Hailey Davidson joined the tour, she complied with these policies by providing necessary documentation, including validation from the LPGA and USGA, which also facilitated her participation in the 2022 Q-School.”
The tour will also request Davidson undergo further tests of her testosterone levels and tour players will be polled on their opinion concerning her participation.
“Recognizing the spectrum of views on this issue, we wish to highlight that our decisions are guided by what is best for our players, setting aside personal beliefs,” the statement continued. “We believe it is vital to consider the perspectives of those directly affected by these policies.”
Davidson has stated that she is open to a poll of her playing peers. “At this point, we’re trying anything to see if we can cool the fire down a little,” Davidson stated to Golfweek. “Generally, a lot of the hate comes from people who aren’t playing.”
The backlash from outside her sport is all too familiar to Davidson. Since becoming the first out trans woman to win a professional golf tournament and becoming only the second trans woman to contest the LPGA qualifying school process more than two years ago, detractors on anti-trans media sources have been taking shots at her.
With the chance to compete a step closer to the goal, her answer to her critics has been the same steady approach she has taken to improve her game. She blocks out the noise and stays on task.
“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,” she said on her Instagram Saturday. “I will never allow hate to win, especially when based in some misinformation.”