American sports reporter Holly Sonders has opened up about the "worst day" after revealing the sexist criticism she copped from an interview at a major golf tournament.
Speaking on popular American golfer Paige Spiranac’s “Playing A Round” podcast this week, the former Fox Sports reporter told an ugly story about the fallout from a US Open interview in 2015.
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Fox Sports had taken over coverage of the US Open major from long time broadcaster NBC, prompting heightened levels of scrutiny within the golfing world.
Sonders was interviewing eventual champion Jordan Spieth after his final round, when she asked if he'd packed an outfit for the following day, in the event the tournament went into a play-off.
The 33-year-old said the backlash she received for what was supposed to be a light-hearted question, was brutal and sexist.
“People were like, ‘Oh my God you are the stupidest person I’ve ever met,’” she said on the podcast.
“‘What a dumb bimbo’. That was probably the worst day of my life, the next day. I remember sitting on the charter flight to the Women’s Open, watching all this come in (even by) some people who were friends of mine in the media.
“To this day, I don’t even understand. It was a joking question to Jordan, I understood … I got destroyed by that.
“After that, I was like, ‘F*** it.’ If all these people I had given so much to in the world of golf are going to come down on me on that, then forget it.”
Fox Sports were subsequently panned for their coverage of the US Open, with Sonders - who had made a name for herself at Golf Channel before the move to Fox - relegated from on-course interviews to post-game segments.
“That hardened me,” Sonders said.
“That was probably the hardest month of my life. I left the comfort of Golf Channel for a new crew with Fox, who is the best crew in the world. Everybody crushed all of us. I give the most credit to everybody at Fox. We got better and better and we were a close group.”
After several years with Fox Sports, Sonders eventually left in 2019 and started up a fitness app.
“After 10 years of it, and the same golf crowd, I just wanted to live my life,” she said.
“All my relationships failed, ’cause I was doing NFL on the weekends. I had accomplished on TV what I wanted to accomplish. It was just time to live my life.”
Paige Spiranac’s podcast growing in popularity
Spiranac’s podcast has become a hit among fans without any golf to watch during the coronavirus crisis.
She previously revealed a horrifying ordeal in which an explicit photo of her was shared online, as well as taking aim at the ‘elitist’ male culture in golf.
The 27-year-old has taken some time away from professional golf to focus on a media career and her anti-bullying charity work.
Spiranac also opened up about her many failed attempts to find love, saying men would ‘take advantage’ of her for golf tips.
The 27-year-old golf star is currently engaged, but her happiness was a long time coming.
“I would always open up a conversation with, ‘Hey I play golf’ and anything along those lines and I thought that it would work,” Spiranac said recently on her podcast Playing-A-Round.
“Unfortunately, guys were using me for golf lessons, golf equipment and golf balls.
“(They’d say) ‘So Paige, let’s go out on a golf date. I’ll take you to this driving range and we can just hit golf balls’ and I’d be like, ‘Yeah, that sounds awesome’. It would turn into an hour lesson of me just helping the guy become a better golfer.
“That happened all the time, since I was desperate and I wanted guys to like me.”