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.
HALL OF FAME: Former British Open champion Kel Nagle and three-time British Amateur champion Joe Carr have been selected to the World Golf Hall of Fame, filling out a 2007 class that will feature six inductees Nov. 12 at the World Golf Village in St. Augustine, Fla.
Nagle, an Australian whose 61 worldwide victories included a claret jug from St. Andrews, was selected through the veteran's category. Carr was chosen through the lifetime achievement category.
Nagle, 87, is the fifth Australian headed for the Hall of Fame.
"I'm sure he's going to be thrilled," Gary Player said. "It's nice to go to your grave at 87 knowing that you've been recognized and going into the Hall of Fame, which is very important in an athlete's career."
Nagle's greatest victory came in 1960, when Arnold Palmer made his British Open debut while creating the modern version of the Grand Slam. He almost won another major, but Player beat him in a playoff in the 1965 U.S. Open at Bellerive.
Carr won the British Amateur three times, won 37 titles in Ireland and played in the Walker Cup a record 10 times.
Others to be inducted this fall are Curtis Strange, Hubert Green, Se Ri Pak and Charles Blair Macdonald.
SURPRISED TO BE HERE: Lucas Glover failed at every turn to qualify for the British Open. He got here, anyway.
Glover narrowly finished outside the top 50 in the world ranking when that exemption was decided. His next option was 36-hole qualifying at Oakland Hills, but he withdrew after nine holes at 6 over par. He played well at the AT&T National and the John Deere Classic, but not well enough to be the top player not already eligible.
He flew to Carnoustie as an alternate and was in the field when his plane landed.
"I didn't play my way in, so this is gravy," Glover said.
He replaced Shingo Katayama, who withdrew with injuries.
Glover thought the R&A might kick him off the alternate list because he withdrew from the U.S. qualifier. He was grinding so much on his game at the Buick Open that he never had time to practice at Oakland Hills, and he wanted to see the course after the PGA Tour event.
"I got there Sunday and asked if I could ride around," Glover said. "They said, 'No more carts.' I just got done walking six days in a row, and I said, 'I'm not walking 36 more.' I figured out where the 10th tee and the driving range were, went back to the hotel, shot 6 over on the front. I was stiff, my back was sore, so I bagged it."
But it worked out well.
QUIET, PLEASE: After so many mobile phones (most of them used for taking pictures of Tiger Woods) last year at Hoylake, the R&A banned cell phones at the British Open for the first time.
This came as good news to Colin Montgomerie. The joke is always that Monty could hear a fly break wind in England when he's standing over a shot in Scotland.
He knows it, based on his sarcastic response.
"I'm fine with photographers on the course," he said. "It's the other players that I feel that was brought in for. The likes of Retief Goosen, and people like that, the people that really get upset over these type of things."
Now if they can just ban the flies.