What, you were expecting swift justice, some semblance of accountability, or at least a measure of transparency?
Slow learners, we are.
Sunday night in Shanghai, after the big-money HSBC Champions event concluded, the commissioners of the PGA and European tours offered a joint statement about the weekend’s other hot-button matter, the perceived racial slur uttered at an off-site banquet Friday night by controversial caddie Steve Williams.
In at apparent attempt at humor at the off-color awards banquet, the longtime bagman of Tiger Woods described his over-the-top celebration after new boss Adam Scott won in August as an attempt to “shove it up his black arse----.”
Williams was denigrating about Woods, his boss for parts of 13 years until he was sacked at midsummer, leaving the caddie feeling bitter and betrayed.
Given the game’s history as it relates to racial issues -- Woods is the lone player of African-American blood with exempt status in 2012 -- the condemnation was swift from all corners of the globe. However, it took two days for the tours to offer any formal comment, and when the wrist-slap was issued, it implied that zero punitive measures were taken.
The PGA Tour is empowered to sanction caddies, but implied that no action had been taken, other than to toss out a few late, hollow words.
“The International Federation of PGA Tours feels strongly there is no place for any form of racism in ours or any other sport,” the statement began.
Just not strongly enough to offer any sanction, apparently.
“We consider the remarks of Steve Williams, as reported, entirely unacceptable in whatever context,” the statement said. “We are aware that he has apologized fully and we trust we will not hear such remarks ever again. Based on this, we consider the matter closed, and we will have no further comment.”
This clears a path for Williams to caddie for Aussie-born Scott at the Australian Open later this week and next week at the Presidents Cup matches, where Williams, a New Zealander, will be a sideshow to the story – Woods is playing in both events.
Just another reminder that when it comes to discipline, the sport is long on talk and short on corrective action, especially the U.S. tour. John Daly had an inches-thick disciplinary file that was released in 2010 as part of a lawsuit, and it was learned that despite more suspensions and sanctions than any player in tour history, he had been fined approximately $100,000.
Faced with yet another chance to do the right thing, the professional game’s top officials did what they have done best for years – talked the talk, but skipped the walk.
Williams will get off Scott-free with the new boss, pardon the pun gymnastics. The world's No. 8 player said after his final round at HSBC that he would not suspend Williams for the Aussie Open or Presidents Cup matches and refused to be dragged further into the afffair.
That decision was ar least as disappointing as the non-action taken by the professional tours, given Scott's sterling reputation as a classy player who has rarely, it ever, made such a perceived public misstep. Bluntly asked if the tours were condoning racism by failing to take action -- a charge that could rightly be leveled at Scott himself -- the player blanched.
"Look, I don't [think] digging for a story out of me on this is a good idea," he told reporters.