By now you've probably heard about Kelly Tilghman's use of the word "lynch" in reference to stopping Tiger Woods, and the subsequent Golf Week magazine cover that featured a noose. However, as unfortunate as it may be, that's not the first noose related incident that's impacted golf in Florida over the past year. In June of 2007, an employee of Orlando's Orange County National Golf Club placed a noose in a room at the course that was visibile for all to see.
David Brice, a former African-American employee with Orange County National Golf Club in Winter Garden, filed a formal complaint to the PGA Tour after witnessing the noose in one of the club's offices in June, Brice and the Tour confirmed to the Sentinel.
The Tour held an investigation of OCN before it hosted Q-School, PGA Tour spokesman Ty Votaw said. Votaw said OCN assured the Tour that Q-School would run smoothly after learning the man whom OCN determined had placed the noose was no longer working there. The course also promised diversity training for employees.
Bruce Gerlander, OCN General Manager, confirmed the man who hung the noose was no longer there, but he declined comment about all matters pertaining to the incident. The person, a former supervisor, could not be reached for comment.
Brice said he returned to his job as a golf-services worker on June 4 to see the noose with the sign "1-800-whiners" hanging from the right corner of the outside-services office, which was located underneath the pro shop. The office had a window on the door, Brice said, making the noose visible to the public upon a closer look.
Obviously, putting a noose up anywhere is a disgraceful action that shouldn't be taken lightly. To me, it's an example of some of the racism that I believe still exists within the sport of golf. While the sport as a whole has tried to engage people of differing ethnicities, I think that some involved with the sport have struggled with the newfound diversity. Granted, not every golfer in America is against seeing minorities playing on their course, but it seems to me that golf still has a long way to go before it reaches the level of diverseness that other major sports have reached. Hopefully, both of these incidents just serve as catalysts that keep the sport moving towards a goal of equality for individuals from contrasting heritages.