In this day and age, you wouldn’t expect racism to be part of any sport, much less a supposed ‘gentleman sport’ like golf. But it seems golf courses around the world are still rampant with this unnecessary evil, as even Tiger Woods can tell you.
Shockingly, until 1961, the PGA of America had a Caucasian-only membership clause. Although the clause is no longer there, an overwhelming majority of players are white, with only four African-American players on the PGA Tour - Joseph Bramlett, Cameron Champ, Tiger Woods, Harold Varner III.
It seems golf has not yet let go of its racist past. Long Drive champion Maurice Allan from America, recently reached out to Golf Digest, asking for a platform to share his experience as an African-American man in golf after international outrage in the wake of the killing of George Floyd.
"It's been everything from not being able to get into events, to not being paid for winning. You hit the ball, people say it's not in, they've kicked it out of bounds. People changing the yardages that I've hit - I've seen it all.
“In my part of the game, the long-drive arena, we’re supposed to be flashy, to be entertainers. Except white long drivers are praised for being colorful and flamboyant, while I’m called a showboat. Well, “showboat” is putting it nicely.
Just yesterday I received hate mail, accusing me of race-mingling, calling me ‘Django,’ that I’m as worthless as our previous president, ‘Obama Bin Laden.’ That’s just from, ahem, ‘fans,’ Allan shared.
Often he is the only Africa-American in a competition and has had both competitors and their families rain n-words and racial slurs on him without remorse. After a rival’s father said on social media that Allen was arrested last year, he defended himself.
His sponsors were upset with him for trying to defend his own honor. "I've never been a person who says it's just the way it is. I've always been one who's going to fight and say that something's not right.
It may happen to me but I can assure you, I'll file such a raucous that it will never happen to anyone else again,” said a determined Maurice Allan. England’s Zane Scotland has also experienced racism first hand.
"Because I am mixed race, a lot of my contemporaries wouldn't necessarily know that I'm half black. So they would make comments when we go out for dinner or sitting around in the clubhouse. Sometimes horribly racist comments.
My view has always been - I'm tournament focused. I view that as their issue, their world is much smaller, he told the BBC.
Tiger Woods also a victim of racism
Even golfing legend Tiger Woods has been the victim of racial slurs and discrimination many times in his illustrious career.
Although he has been consistent in his unwillingness to cause controversy or ruffle feathers the evidence is clear. In 1997 Fuzzy Zoeller made the infamous comment about Woods (21 at the time) when he was rolling to his monumental win at the Masters.
"He's doing quite well, pretty impressive. That little boy is driving well and he's putting well. He's doing everything it takes to win. So, you know what you guys do when he gets in here? You pat him on the back and say congratulations and enjoy it and tell him not to serve fried chicken next year.
Got it. Or collard greens or whatever the hell they serve." In 2008, during a broadcast on Golf Channel, Nick Faldo SAID younger golfers were going to have to “gang up” on Tiger to be able to take him off his perch as best in the world.
Tilghman responded laughingly that they were going to have to "lynch him in a back alley." At the time the Woods camp resonded saying Tilghman’s remarks were harmless and that Tiger and Kelly were friends.
In 2011 Steve Williams was asked about a win that he called “the greatest victory of his career. He responded by saying he badly wanted to beat former employer, Woods. "I wanted to shove it up that black arsehole."
Although Woods and Williams made amends, Woods admitted he was disappointed by the comment. One of the more controversial comments was made by Sergio Garcia in 2013. Garcia was asked whether or not he would consider hosting Tiger at the 2013 U.S.
Open. He said he would. "We will have him 'round every night. We will serve fried chicken" Woods responded via Twitter and, again, said he was disappointed. "The comment that was made wasn't silly. It was wrong, hurtful and clearly inappropriate.
I'm confident that there is real regret that the remark was made." Tiger Woods has handled it all with grace but the amount of racism that still seems to be part of the golfing community needs to change.