Posts Tagged ‘#tiger’

 

Image

Sergio Garcia hates Tiger Woods, that much is evident. That is why in the midst of a very public feud, Sergio let loose the kind of barb that has become far too common in the world of professional golf. When asked if Sergio would have Tiger over for dinner Sergio replied, “we’ll have him over for dinner every night” he began to walk away, turned and said “we’ll serve fried chicken”. Ah yes, the tried and true subjugating fried chicken reference – an infamous put down to the African-American community. One would think golfers would be sensitive to this sort of language after Fuzzy Zoeller, winner of the 1979 Masters and the 1984 U.S. Open, said after Tiger’s 1997 Masters win, “that little boy is driving well and putting well…” he went on to say, referring to the fact that the Masters winner selects the dinner menu for the following Masters dinner “tell him not to serve fried chicken next year….or collard greens or whatever the hell they serve”. Disturbingly enough these aren’t the only racially insensitive comments aimed at Tiger Woods by those in the golfing profession. Just 5 years ago, Golf Channel anchor Kelly Tilghman offered up this solution to young golfers looking to unseat Tiger as the worlds top golfer during a live broadcast, she said they should gang up and “lynch him in a back alley.” Kelly was reprimanded by the public and suspended by the Golf channel. How did Golfweek Magazine decide to cover this huge misstep, their next issue featured a picture of a noose on the cover. Ouch, talk about twisting the knife.

Now are all or any of the aforementioned comments race driven? Perhaps not. Are Sergio, Fuzzy and Kelly all racist? We may never know, but the history of Golf, the PGA and it’s founders speak to a disturbing view of racial inequality and antiquated social views and practices. In 1975, not 1925, but1975, Cliff Roberts, co-founder of Augusta National Golf Club (yes, that Augusta), stated “as long as I’m alive, golfers will be white and caddies will be black.” In 1990 the founder of Shoal Creek Country Club in Alabama, site of the PGA championship that year, stated “we don’t discriminate in every other area except the blacks”. After public pressure following that statement both Shoal Creek and Augusta admitted their first black members that year. Shoal Creek, designed by Jack Nicklaus and rated the top golf club in the state admitted it’s first woman members in 2009. Augusta national joined the fray and admitted it’s first few female members in 2012, amongst them…Condoleezza Rice.

Now none of us are naïve enough to think racism and inequality doesn’t permeate each of the major U.S. sports in some capacity. However, many esteemed private golf clubs seem to be intently overt and sometimes even prideful of this shameful behavior. Their practice of membership via invite only (no applications allowed) almost seems to protect their shady interest. NCAA football still has leaps and bounds to go before it’s hiring practices are considered inclusive of all races and the NFL needs to revisit it’s Rooney rule to ensure fair hiring practices. However the latter has made tremendous strides in leveling the playing field in it’s hiring of front office and coaching positions. Meanwhile, Tiger is simply trying to go a few years without being chastised for perhaps enjoying Popeye’s Chicken every once in a while. I mean, who doesn’t love fried chicken? I wonder, what would these clubs say if he actually wanted to work at Augusta? Would he be offered a position as Sergio’s caddie?

-Pierce