Ah just when you think the sportswriters simply don't care enough about the game to ask a few questions of the folks governing it, along comes Selena Roberts of the New York Times to shake things up.
Her issue? Uh your basic hypocrisy deal with the USGA, which I'm sure will include images this weekend of Walter Driver teaching young, poor, non-white children the joys of
leveraging brand equity the game of golf. Some highlights for those of you who can't get behind the pay wall:
The private politics of the U.S.G.A.’s leaders say so. On the cover of this week’s Golf World magazine, the headline reads, “Can the U.S.G.A. Survive Walter Driver?” He is the corporate cowboy with luxury tastes who is forcing a Wall Street approach on a nonprofit organization.Fast forward...
The U.S.G.A.’s grassroots slogan is “For the Good of the Game.” Yet Driver projects what’s good for him as a member of at least three private clubs with reputations for discriminatory practices: Pine Valley in New Jersey, Augusta National and Peachtree Golf Club in Atlanta. Why join one cabal of bias when you can learn secret handshakes at all three?
Driver did not respond to a message about his contradiction of conscience. Fay, however, did concede the conflict. To his credit, Fay dropped his membership at Pine Valley, although he pleads guilty to playing the course on occasion.
There is a game of spin the bottle for U.S.G.A. officials when deciding whether they will A) choose memberships at open clubs or B) give in to the siren song of the great American course, which, as it happens, is often run by prejudiced elites in crested blazers.
“How do you square it?” Fay said. “Everyone has to deal with it on a personal basis. Everyone has to sort it out his own way. I’ve had to sort it out.
“It’s a struggle. That may sound like a cop-out. I can’t argue with that.”
Fay is honest. But the arbitrary scruples of executives poke holes in the U.S.G.A.’s credibility as a builder of culture clubs for all.
So nice to see there's an issue that even David can't and won't spin his way out of! There's hope yet for the man!
Oh and this is fun. I'm sure several of our leading scribes would like to have known this before Wednesday's press conference so they could not ask about it.
“Its leadership has never looked like America, with hardly any blacks or Latinos in its top positions, no matter for all the ‘Kumbaya’ multicultural ads it has run promoting itself with smiling kids of all backgrounds out on the course,” said the Duke professor Orin Starn, author of “Caddying for the Dalai Lama: Golf, Heritage Tourism and the Pinehurst Resort,” who is researching a book on golf and American society. “The U.S.G.A. has wanted to style itself as upholding a democratic, open-to-all version of golf, including picking public courses like Bethpage and Torrey Pines for the Open and those promos featuring golfers at folksy little starter shacks. The reality is that the U.S.G.A. is just as much about money, big-time profits and corporate connections.”