Alison Perkins was subjected to harrassment
The first transgender golfer to take part in regional qualifying for the Open Championship has faced abuse and threats while helping coach spectators at Royal St George’s.
Alison Perkins told Telegraph Sport "I did think about quitting golf" after members of the crowd made alleged transphobic comments in recent days. Perkins, who missed out on the championship proper, had been part of the team delivering lessons at the ‘Swing Zone’ in the Spectator Village.
The PGA pro from Milton Keynes left early after being subjected to what witnesses described as harassment. "I am not going to go into details, but it was enough to make me leave," Perkins added.
Perkins, who had previously helped coach fans at The Open, had earlier this summer expressed pride at being the first trans-female to take part in regional qualifying.
"What happened, happened," she told Telegraph Sport in a statement. "For me the decision to leave The Open and the PGA swing zone was the right one, as I need to be safe, keep my self-respect and manage the hurt and pain this causes in my own way.
"The golf is the only important thing this week. I am only one person. There are thousands enjoying the golf. Yes, a couple ruined it for me from a work, coaching and life experience. In my life I have had to fight many times to continue my journey to be a better me, coach and pro golfer… this is not worth the fight."
Perkins has now returned home to "reflect on a good four days, rather than the abuse I had". "I will refocus, and be back in time," she added. "These people just don’t understand, know the facts or realise how much they can affect someone’s life. I did think about quitting golf yesterday but, hey, it’s what I love, so don’t let them win."
The R&A is understood to have been made aware of the situation and is looking into it. Perkins stepped away from her work as a golf coach around 11 years ago to focus on her transition. "The word ‘transition’ is difficult," she said in a previous interview. "It means so many things in this ‘transgender world’."