Lawless is a former police officer who underwent a sex change operation five years ago. The 57-year-old won the annual women’s long drive golf championship in 2008, but was banned from this year’s competition after the gender rules were adopted.
“I am, in all respects, legally, and physically female,” Lawless said in a statement Wednesday. “The state of California recognizes me as such and the LPGA should not be permitted to come into California and blatantly violate my rights. I just want to have the same opportunity to play professional golf as any other woman.”
The golfer also sued three LPGA sponsors and host Long Drivers of America. Both the LPGA and Long Drivers of America declined to comment.
The tournament begins Thursday in Danville. Lawless is seeking unspecified damages, and to prevent the LPGA from holding tournaments in California until it changes its policy.
With Associated Press