Transgender golfer Hailey Davidson supports pro tour’s decision to poll players about gender policy

The NXXT Women’s Pro Tour has responded to the controversy surrounding transgender player Hailey Davidson, who won a recent event and tops the tour’s points list.

Stuart McKinnon, CEO of the NXXT, formerly the East Coast Women’s Pro Golf Tour, came out with a statement on Monday addressing Davidson’s participation. The tour has initiated an anonymous poll among its players to gather their opinions on the NXXT’s gender policy.

Davidson told Golfweek she had no qualms with the poll.

“At this point, we’re trying anything to see if we can cool the fire down a little,” said Davidson, who added that “generally a lot of the hate comes from people who aren’t playing.”

McKinnon’s memo said the tour also requested that Davidson undergo additional testosterone testing to ensure compliance.

“The recent discussions surrounding Hailey Davidson’s participation and success on our tour have highlighted a range of viewpoints,” McKinnon wrote. “The NXXT Women’s Pro Tour acknowledges these perspectives while emphasizing that our policies and decisions are guided by the frameworks set by the LPGA and USGA. Our primary focus remains on supporting our players’ aspirations and contributing to their journey towards the LPGA.”

Davidson earned a scholarship to play on the men’s team at Wilmington University, an NCAA Division II school in Delaware, before transferring to the men’s team at Christopher Newport, an NCAA Division III school in Virginia.

On Sept. 24, 2015 – a date that’s tattooed on her right forearm – Davidson began undergoing hormone treatments, and in January 2021 underwent gender reassignment surgery, a six-hour procedure that’s required under the LPGA’s Gender Policy.

Davidson, who works in social media for NBC/Peacock, said she has deleted her Twitter app after claiming the top prize at the NXXT Women’s Classic on Jan. 17 at Mission Inn Resort and Club in Howey-in-the-Hills, Florida. She estimates that she’s received between five and 10 death threats in recent days, though she tries not to read as much.

“It comes with the territory, I suppose,” she said. “Someone who is at home really frustrated with themselves trying to take it out on me. If I don’t laugh, I’m going to be miserable.”

Hailey Davidson
Hailey Davidson

Transgender golfer Hailey Davidson. Photo by Hailey Davidson

Three years ago, Davidson became the second transgender player to compete in LPGA Q-School and did not make the cut. She won her first professional title on the NWGA tour (National Women’s Golf Association), beating several LPGA players in the process, including Paula Creamer and Perrine Delacour. Davidson is believed to be the first transgender player to win a professional women’s golf event.

The NXXT has a new partnership this season with the Epson Tour, the developmental feeder tour for the LPGA. The top five earners on the NXXT points list will earn two exemptions into Epson Tour fields.

While it looks like Davidson might be closing in on those exemptions, it’s actually a taller task than many believe. For players to receive those Epson Tour exemptions, the NXXT must have a minimum of 10 events with an average of 40 players. So far, the NXXT fields are well short of that number.

Davidson beat 24 players in the three-round event earlier this week. She was three shots back with two to play and wound up clinching her first title in 2 ½ years in a playoff.

Davidson already took another testosterone test and expects to get the results back later Monday. She said she’s not particularly worried about her place on the NXXT going forward, given that she meets the requirements of both the LPGA’s and USGA’s gender policies.

Davidson confirmed that she’d like to go back to LPGA Q-School later this year, but said that it all comes down to finances.

As for the growing controversy surrounding her, Davidson said that any time something like this happens, people who don’t follow golf think she’s two swings away from the LPGA.

“Oh yeah,” said Davidson, “(they say) ‘she’ll be out there tomorrow on TV, destroying everything.’ ”

Story originally appeared on GolfWeek