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Off The Bench

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Off The Bench
Jake O'Donnell
Jake O'Donnell

22:15 27 Aug 2020


As several sports across America postpone competition in protest against the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Wisconsin, golf goes ahead on Thursday at the BMW Championship in Illinois. 

The NBA, WNBA, MLB and MLS have all suspended matches after the latest incident of excessive police brutality against a black man in America, which left 29-year-old Blake needing a miracle to ever walk again, according to a family attorney.

While golf has rarely, if ever, led on social issues, there is a feeling that now is the time the sport should stand with its colleagues across basketball, baseball, football and soccer against police brutality and racism.

Historically, the sport has crawled behind social progress.

In 1975, for example, the then-Augusta National chairman, Clifford Roberts, announced that as long as he lived, “players in the Masters will be white and caddies will be black. ”

Augusta National finally accepted its first black member in 1990.

Speaking on this week's Golf Weekly, former European Tour player Peter Lawrie said he didn't expect many golfers to take a stand against racism due to the selfish nature of the sport.

"I witnessed it in Madeira, there was a caddie lying dead on the 9th hole," Lawrie told host Joe Molloy on Thursday's podcast.

"I walked up and down the range and said, 'Lads we are making the worst mistake we can possibly make by going out to play later on.'

"And only one person followed me and said: 'You're right Peter, it's time to not play.'

"So players have the option to do it, but, I guarantee it, most of them – as I've said it before and I was one of them – are selfish prats and it's as simple as that.

"They only think of themselves, and when I go back over my career, I wish I had actually woken up and looked around me and looked around at the good I could have done. Or done some good when I was doing quite well out on tour but I didn't. I was far too focused on myself."

Highlighting Tiger Woods as the sport's biggest star and one of its few high-profile black players, Joe Molloy added that it was disappointing that no one amongst the sport's elite could lead a unified response.

"I would feel, personally, you would have to say that it is disappointing how little he has ever said on the issue," Molloy argued.

"Now that's not to castigate him because he might turn around and say, 'What do I know about it? I'm a private citizen and I just happen to be very good at golf. It's not up to me.' But the fact remains it's disappointing he's done nothing.

"It would be amazing if he pulled out of this event tonight.

"It would be a powerful message, it would make headlines all across the world, it would raise pressure, it would raise scrutiny, it would just be another person getting into line and saying enough is enough.

"How much of a free pass do we give golf where we just say: 'Oh clearly golf isn't going to stand up and support all of the other sports, how could we expect it to?'

"It is an eternal disappointment. And you think of black players on the tour, black caddies.

"Golf's history is dreadful and when is it going to get ahead of the curve rather than be dragged along inch by inch by inch? It's a stain on the sport.

Golf Weekly is brought to you in association with Now TV


Read more about

BMW Championship Black Lives Matter Golf Weekly Joe Molloy Peter Lawrie Tiger Woods

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