May 23, 2013

Note to Sergio Garcia: as much as you’ve always been known as a cry-baby and a whiner most still considered you a likeable cry-baby and whiner, but by going into Fuzzy Zoeller territory by making a comment involving Tiger Woods with a racial connotation your career – no matter which direction it takes from here – will always be defined by that remark. You can question someone’s integrity and sense of fair play and get away with it, but racial comments are never forgotten, no matter how much or how often you apologize. Just ask Fuzzy how one’s career gets defined in just a few short seconds. Tim Dahlberg of Yahoo! Sports nails it:

The petulant child taking on the arrogant superstar. If nothing else, it was something to fill time while waiting to see if Woods was ever going to win another major championship.

Then Garcia upped the ante by making it real personal and really ugly. Regrets, sure he has some now, but the line in England about his dinner plans with Woods didn’t come out of nowhere.

Black people and fried chicken, get it? Nudge, nudge, wink, wink.

My initial thought was that this could only happen in golf, an insular sport that has never been terribly welcoming to minorities. Turns out, though, that there are soccer fields across Europe where people actually laugh at this kind of racist drivel.

But for it to happen twice in golf means the lessons of the past simply haven’t been learned. And for it to come from Garcia, who has spent his career unsuccessfully chasing Woods, shows both a stunning lack of maturity and a complete ignorance of how racial stereotypes can cause real pain.

To give Garcia some credit, he said he was sick to his stomach when he realized what came out of his mouth. Indeed, this was more stupid than it was racial, a juvenile attempt to upstage Woods for his continuing smugness about beating Garcia earlier this month when Garcia self-destructed in the Players Championship.

That doesn’t make it right, but it does put it in context. This wasn’t Zoeller, who understood stereotypes well, and this isn’t 1997, when even fewer blacks played golf than play today and the PGA Tour was a lily-white affair. There still aren’t any black players other than Woods competing at the highest level, but the tour is arguably more diversified with an infusion of Asian players since that time.

I were you, Sergio, I’d stay away from play in the US for a while and maybe make some big donation to the folks in Oklahoma as a way to start making amends, because, like or respect Tiger Woods or not, no one deserves that kind of remark. You’ve actually got people feeling sorry for Tiger Woods – I never thought that was possible.

Way to go, Sergio – I always liked you and enjoyed watching you play, now you’re dead to me. And life on the golf course just got a million times more difficult for you.

————–

I think the USGA and R & A made the right decision in outlawing the anchoring of the long putter against one’s body. I know the Webb Simpsons and Keegan Bradleys of the PGA Tour are all pissed off and even considering legal action against the USGA (yeah, that’ll work!) but I think the PGA Tour ought to be very careful about how they proceed from here and not take their own unilateral action against the USGA and R & A by allowing the anchoring of long putters on their tour. For one thing, the image of the PGA Tour would take a real hit as folks would see it as just a bunch of elitist, country-club, pretty boy millionaires having a tantrum over something that’s not that consequential. Secondly, it would create all kinds of chaos and confusion, not to mention driving a wedge between the US and European tours – something I’m sure the sport doesn’t want to see happen as golf grows in popularity and participation in Asia and Africa.

Bottom line is: no one is saying you have to toss that belly putter into the dust-bin, you just can’t anchor it against your body! Even someone supposedly as intelligent as Tim Clark ought to be able to understand that.

Filed in: Golf & Sports by The Great White Shank at 02:42 | Comments (0)
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