Let Tiger deal with Stevie’s racist taunt, says LPGA pioneer Renee Powell

If Tiger Woods has no problem with the racist insult his ex-caddie hurled his way Friday night, perhaps everyone else should chill out, said LPGA Tour pioneer Renee Powell.
“It’s an unfortunate incident that should not have happened, but I think you should take a cue from Tiger,” Powell, the second African-American to play on the LPGA Tour, told us by phone on Sunday. “[Williams] was talking about Tiger and whatever [Tiger’s] people say should be where it should stop.”
To recap, Williams, whom Woods fired in July and who now carries the bag for Adam Scott, responded to a question during an annual caddies dinner with a crass racist taunt blasting his former boss. In the firestorm Williams ignited, Scott insisted his looper apologize (Williams did — in a half-hearted, “sorry if I offended anyone” kind of way) and said he would retain Williams’ services. The PGA Tour and European Tours slapped Williams’ wrist with a belated statement lamenting the New Zealander’s “entirely unacceptable” remark and pronounced the matter closed.
With Woods and Scott in the field at the Australian Open starting on Thursday, on opposite teams in the Presidents Cup next week, and the issue taking on a life of its own (see: the exchange of barbs between ESPN’s Paul Azinger and Sports Illustrated’s Alan Shipnuck on Twitter on Sunday), it’s a good bet that the controversy is far from over. Indeed, U.S. Prez Cup captain Fred Couples weighed in, saying he would have canned his caddie for expressing such an odious opinion.
Powell believes Williams should have known his supposedly off-the-record assertion at a private affair would go viral, but she said it was a concern for Woods and his former bagman to work out. So far, the only response from Team Tiger was a quote from Woods’ agent Mark Steinberg stating, “There’s really nothing that Tiger can do or say.”
Powell, who joined the LPGA in 1967, suffered many of the indignities that Charlie Sifford, the first African-American on the PGA Tour, alluded to last week when he ripped Augusta National Golf Course for its systemic racism. From the viewpoint of the 65-year-old head pro at East Canton, Ohio’s Clearview Golf Club who works with women military veterans, Williams’ slap at Woods was highly insensitive. Still, Powell urged observers to put the episode in context.
“There are bigger things going on the world, like our soldiers dying in Afghanistan and Iraq fighting for our freedom,” Powell said. “If we look at the bigger picture and put things in perspective, we would diminish [the Williams incident] a little bit.”
Powell made it clear she did not sanction Williams’ declaration and suggested sensitivity training might be in order for the outspoken Kiwi.
“I don’t think it should be taken as a laughing matter or a joke,” said Powell, who noted that the increasingly global nature of golf demanded respect for and from all participants. “We as a people, and we in the golf industry, have to be sensitive to all people.
“We have African-Americans, Asians, and Caucasians in golf,” she said. “We’re no longer just a one-race sport.”

Leave a Reply

  • (will not be published)