A step backward

By Scott WalkerNovember 5, 2011, 6:21 pm

You don’t need me to tell you what Steve Williams said about Tiger Woods was uncool. Why it is uncool is a more important subject.

At the private Annual Caddy Awards dinner this week in Shanghai, Williams was given an “award” for best celebration, in honor of him carrying Adam Scott to victory (as it seemed by Williams’ post-round comments) at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational. The whole event was to be a tongue-in-cheek laugh fest to end the year. But, when Williams said in his acceptance speech that his goal, referring to Woods, was to “shove it right up that black [expletive deleted],” the comment shocked observers in the room. It also has reverberated inside the golf world, and beyond.

Sobel: Williams sticks foot in mouth again

Chiming in: Who's saying what in Williams flap

The reason this situation will not soon be forgotten is that Williams referenced Tiger’s color reflexively when he got angry. The kneejerk reaction from some was to refer to Williams as a racist. Believe me, that only confuses the issue. You and I have no clue whether or not Steve Williams believes he is racially superior to Tiger Woods, me, or any other race. What we do know is that when the anger of being fired by Woods boiled over again this week, Williams decided to reference Woods’ color in using an objectionable phrase. “I now realize how my comments could be construed as racist,” Williams said in a statement on his website. The fact that he didn’t realize it immediately is baffling. However, it illustrates that when Williams wanted to inflict the greatest injury with his comments, he reflexively reached for a colorful adjective to do it.

But Williams’ comments are only part of the issue. The fact that he felt comfortable enough to say such nonsense at that gathering will remind minorities of golf’s exclusive past, of proverbial smoke-filled rooms where decisions were made, and where many of us were absent. There is nothing wrong with having a private gathering where folks can have a good time at the end of a long year. There is something wrong when one of the attendees considered it the perfect time and setting to say what Williams did. Thankfully, enough people in that room decided what transpired there should not remain hidden. But it was a reminder that of the anxiety that comes with the question, “What do they say about us when we are not around?”

Will there be repercussions for Williams’ comments? Adam Scott said after the third round of the WGC-HSBC Champions that he wants Williams as his caddie. That is understandable, given the recent success Team Scott has had, as well as the success Team Tiger had with Williams on the bag. But golf as a sport, and an industry, needs to tread very carefully with this situation. If Tiger Woods, golf’s greatest champion since the Golden Bear, is still not immune to racially tinged rhetoric, who is?

What do they say about us when we are not around? It can be tough to grow the game when Steve Williams has provided an answer to that question.

Rose wins; Aphibarnrat earns Masters bid in Indonesia

By Will GrayDecember 17, 2017, 1:59 pm

Justin Rose continued his recent run of dominance in Indonesia, while Kiradech Aphibarnrat snagged a Masters invite with some 72nd-hole dramatics.

Rose cruised to an eight-shot victory at the Indonesian Masters, carding bookend rounds of 10-under 62 that featured a brief run at a 59 during the final round. The Englishman was the highest-ranked player in the field and he led wire-to-wire, with Thailand's Phachara Khongwatmai finishing second.

Rose closes out the year as perhaps the hottest player in the world, with top-10 finishes in each of his final 10 worldwide starts. That stretch includes three victories, as Rose also won the WGC-HSBC Champions and Turkish Airlines Open. He hasn't finished outside the top 10 in a tournament since missing the cut at the PGA Championship.

Meanwhile, it took until the final hole of the final tournament of 2017 for Aphibarnrat to secure a return to the Masters. The Thai entered the week ranked No. 56 in the world, with the top 50 in the year-end world rankings earning invites to Augusta National. Needing an eagle on the 72nd hole, Aphibarnrat got just that to snag solo fifth place.

It means that he is projected to end the year ranked No. 49, while Japan's Yusaku Miyazato - who started the week ranked No. 58 and finished alone in fourth - is projected to finish No. 50. Aphibarnrat finished T-15 in his Masters debut in 2016, while Miyazato will make his first appearance in the spring.

The results in Indonesia mean that American Peter Uihlein and South Africa's Dylan Frittelli are projected to barely miss the year-end, top-50 cutoff. Their options for Masters qualification will include winning a full-point PGA Tour event in early 2018 or cracking the top 50 by the final March 25 cutoff.

Cabreras take 1-shot lead in Father/Son

By Associated PressDecember 16, 2017, 11:23 pm

ORLANDO, Fla. - Two-time major champion Angel Cabrera and Angel Cabrera Jr. birdied their last three holes for a 13-under 59 to take a one-shot lead Saturday in the PNC Father-Son Challenge.

Cabrera, a Masters and U.S. Open champion, is making his debut in this popular 36-hole scramble. His son said he practiced hard for 10 days. What helped put him at ease was watching his father make so many putts.

''We combined very well,'' Cabrera said. ''When I hit a bad shot, he hit a good one. That's the key.''

They had a one-shot lead over Mark O'Meara and Shaun O'Meara, who are playing for the first time. That included a birdie on the last hole, which O'Meara attributed to the strength of his son.

''My little man hit it 58 yards by me on the 18th,'' said O'Meara, the Masters and British Open champion in 1998. ''It's a little easier coming in with a 6-iron.''

Defending champions David Duval and Nick Karavites rallied over the back nine at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Club for a 61. They are trying to become the first father-son team to repeat as winners since Bernhard and Stefan Langer in 2006. Larry Nelson won two years in a row in 2007 and 2008, but with different sons.

''I'd imagine we have to break 60 tomorrow to have a chance to win, but hey, stranger things have happened,'' Duval said. ''I've even done it myself.''

Duval shot 59 at the Bob Hope Classic to win in 1999 on his way to reaching No. 1 in the world that year.

Duval and his stepson were tied with Bernhard Langer and 17-year-old Jason Langer, who made two eagles on the last five holes. This Langer tandem won in 2014.

Jack Nicklaus, playing with grandson G.T., opened with a 68.

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Woods' 2018 schedule coming into focus ... or is it?

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 16, 2017, 5:46 pm

Two weeks after his successful return to competition at the Hero World Challenge, Tiger Woods’ 2018 schedule may be coming into focus.

Golfweek reported on Saturday that Woods hopes to play the Genesis Open in February according to an unidentified source with “direct knowledge of the situation.”

Woods’ agent Mark Steinberg declined to confirm the 14-time major champion would play the event and told GolfChannel.com that Woods – who underwent fusion surgery to his lower back in April – is still formulating his ’18 schedule.

Woods’ foundation is the host organization for the Genesis Open and the event supports the Tiger Woods Learning Center in Anaheim, Calif.

The Genesis Open would be Woods’ first start on the PGA Tour since he missed the cut last January at the Farmers Insurance Open.

Rose weathering delayed Indonesian Masters

By Associated PressDecember 16, 2017, 3:52 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose held a three-stroke lead after eight holes of the third round Saturday when play was suspended for the day due to bad weather at the Indonesian Masters.

Rose was 3-under on the day and led his playing partners Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Scott Vincent. The Englishman led both players by a stroke after the second round was completed Saturday morning due to weather delays on Friday.

Brandt Snedeker withdrew with apparent heat exhaustion on Friday on the 11th hole of the second round. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters.