Indian golfer Sharmila Nicollet has received an invite to the LPGA Tour’s ShopRite LPGA Classic after a highly controversial Twitter poll.
The tournament teamed-up with MVPindex, which ranks, measures, and values more than 50,000 of the biggest influencers on social media in sports and entertainment, to offer the final spot in the field for the event.
Scotland’s Carly Booth was among the four available to vote for, along with American Blair O’Neal and Susana Benavides from Bolivia, but it was Nicollet who came out on top with 39% of the 26,000-plus votes.
Nicollet has played in 52 events in her career on the Ladies European Tour but has amassed earnings of just €16,147 in that time, with a best finish of T17 at the 2013 Turkish Airlines Ladies Open.
Each player on social media
Twitter: 357k Instagram: 107k
Twitter: 77k Instagram: 188k
Twitter: 36k Instagram: 63k
Twitter: 7k Instagram: 21k
As you can see above, all of the golfers have a substantial social media following and the poll prompted a furious backlash from members of the public on Twitter for seemingly prioritising that over an invite for a player's golfing ability.
Ridiculous...give the spot to somebody that has earned it through their play not their social media presence!— Dallas (@golfer_d) May 1, 2017
This takes away an opportunity for a conditional status player that is on the alt list trying to get in a field. You should be ashamed— Janet Collins (@JanetCollins12) May 1, 2017
What a wonderful message to send to junior golfers. It's not your short game that makes a difference, it's your "Selfie Game." #ShopWrong— Al Beaudreau (@attorneyal) May 5, 2017