The world of long drive golf might have some controversy, but the player at the center of the storm isn't apologizing.
According to a Golfweek story, the women's world champion is a 55-year-old bartender who used to be a man. Lana Lawless upset the favorite in the RE/MAX World Long Drive Championship in Mesquite, Nev., in October to claim the title.
"I am shocked more women are not complaining about this," three-time world champion Sean "The Beast" Fister said, according to the Web site. "It's not an apples-to-apples deal. Men and women are different."
Lawless doesn't think she's different from the other competitors.
"I am a woman," Lawless said, according to Golfweek. "I've lost muscle mass. I don't have big guns [biceps]. They give you a drug that stops you from producing testosterone. Your muscles atrophy. In about seven months, I went from 245 pounds to 175 pounds. I've gained back a little bit, but I feel like I don't have any power. Sure, I used to be a man. For 18 years, I was a cop for the city of Rialto, one of the most violent cities in Southern California. I worked the gang unit. I had a very tough and mean exterior. People didn't want to mess with me.
"I had a hard exterior, but I was compassionate inside. I always let the gay guys go; they had enough drama in their lives."
Lawless, who is from Palm Springs, Calif., hit a 254-yard drive into a 40 mph headwind to capture the championship. A plus-1 handicap as a man, she quit golf after gender reassignment. Then Lawless saw a long drive competition on ESPN and got back into the game. Now, she's a champion.
"In 2005, the USGA approved transgender involvement in competition, so I don't see how we can dispute this," former champion Lee Brandon said, according to Golfweek. "However, if a woman has the knees, hands and feet of a man, she has genetic real estate that is more gifted."
Lawless think she can help dispel perceptions that she's not the same as other players.
"In Palm Springs, I'm like celebrity central," she said, according to the Web site. "Hey, I carry myself well, I'm well-spoken, I'm funny as hell. I fit in with a world that is expanding its acceptance."