The 2009 golf majors may be over, but Tour players didn’t go their separate ways for the off-season before first voting overwhelmingly to re-institute a ban on black players that was lifted in 1961.
“Look, black players have had 48 years to make their mark on the PGA Tour and it hasn’t happened,” said Mark Calcavecchia. “There is only one black guy on Tour. It’s not like we’re denying a bunch of people their rights. It’s just one guy.”
But while Calcavecchia and others paint the 179-1 vote – only Tiger Woods voted against the measure – as simply putting an end to a failed experiment, others see it as a desperate means of ending Woods’ domination over the Tour. Most notably, Woods himself.
“Obviously, they’re tired of losing to me all the time,” said Woods, who leads the PGA Tour in wins again this year. “They’ve tried to beat me in the past by doing stuff like Tiger-proofing courses, but nothing has worked. So they’ve resorted to something so pathetic and racist that it’s almost comical. Thing is – I’m not even half black. I’ve got a lot of Asian and Caucasian in me, too.”
Woods said he plans to circumvent the ban on black players in 2010 by playing up his non-black heritage, but one rival is very much against that tactic.
“Whoa, whoa, whoa,” said Vijay Singh. “I had to lobby pretty hard to not get banned. A lot of players want to get rid of me almost as much as they do Tiger because on the rare occasion he doesn’t win, I'm one of the few guys who is a real threat. But if he’s going to come in with that Cablanasian crap, he’s going to get people with any color in their skin banned. And then I’m out of a job.”
Phil Mickelson says he wholeheartedly supports a Tour ban on people of color.
“This is totally not about me repeatedly getting humiliated by Tiger Woods. Not at all,” said Mickelson. “This is only because golf is a game rich in history and tradition. And the history of this game is whites-only. There’s even more history of whites-only in golf than there is a history of me getting beaten by Tiger Woods, if you can wrap your head around that.”
Woods says that if he doesn’t play next year as non-black or fight the ban in court, he will start up a golf tour of his own.
“Me, Vijay Singh, Michael Campbell, Camilo Villegas, Anthony Kim, some of those South American guys who smoke all the time – would you rather watch that group on TV on a Sunday afternoon,” said Woods, “or a bunch of dorky country club crackers hacking away? And I say ‘crackers’ with all due respect. In fact, sometimes I refer to myself as a Crackblanasian.”