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R&A official causes uproar over racist jokes

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland (AP) — A Royal & Ancient rules official started his dinner speech with a fantastic impersonation of Seve Ballesteros, which segued to a series of racial and ethnic jokes. One day later, Graham Brown was under more scrutiny than Tiger Woods at the British Open.

Brown, a member of the Rules of Golf committee for the R&A, was the guest speaker Tuesday night at the Association of Golf Writers dinner held at Carnoustie and attended by the top brass in golf, including R&A chief executive Peter Dawson, PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem and USGA executive director David Fay.

Dawson distanced the R&A from Brown's jokes but said he would not be asked to resign.

"He was in no way representing the R&A," Dawson said. "We know Graham Brown very well, and I can say absolutely that he is certainly not a racist as an individual. But I have spoken to him today. He is horrified at the impression he has left and horrified at learning the effects of some of his remarks.

"The R&A would not wish to be associated with that kind of thing."

The jokes included a reference to Japanese golfers and a black caddie at Augusta National.

Martin Kippax, chairman of the championship committee at the R&A, said he saw no reason to force Brown to resign.

"Graham is a good golfer. He's a very knowledgeable individual with regards to the rules of golf, and he's a very useful member of our Rules of Golf committee," Kippax said. "What happened last night is something that is quite independent."

The AGW issued a statement apologizing to the guests and members.

"We will make every effort to ensure this does not happen again," the AGW said.

Brown could not be located for comment.


IRISH EYES ARE CRYING: The British Open only has been played in Ireland once in its 147-year history. Chances of it returning to one of the links courses on the Emerald Isle are remote.

The R&A currently uses nine courses, with St. Andrews getting the British Open twice during the rotation. Chief executive Peter Dawson said one criteria is whether the property is big enough to stage such a big event.

"We're not closed-minded to say we'll always have these nine courses," Dawson said. "But right now, we're not actively considering another venue that is true potential for the Open."

One suggestion was Royal County Down, which will stage the Walker Cup in September.

"It's a course we know very well," Dawson said. "It is really an Open Championship venue? Love the course; I think it's terrific. No, I don't think it's a big enough golf course for The Open. But it's a lovely, lovely golf course."

The only British Open held in Ireland was at Portrush in 1951.


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