Shame on PGA Golfers for Not Condemning Sergio Garcia

Chris LandersContributor IIIMay 23, 2013

VIRGINIA WATER, ENGLAND - MAY 22:  Sergio Garcia of Spain attends a press conference during the Pro-Am round prior to the BMW PGA Championship on the West Course at Wentworth on May 22, 2013 in Virginia Water, England.  (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)
Julian Finney/Getty Images

You'd be forgiven for thinking that this was just any other week on the PGA tour. 

After Sergio Garcia channeled his inner Fuzzy Zoeller, media solicited opinions from just about everybody. Most commentators rightly responded with outrage, condemning Garcia for a racist and hateful remark. But, significantly, many of Sergio's peers refused to take a stand, opting instead to simply brush it off. 

Rory McIlroy claimed that it was simply "a bit of a mountain out of a molehill." Lee Westwood claimed that it was "none of his business" and looked as though he was undergoing a root canal at the podium. But these reactions aren't simply lazy—they're irresponsible at best and hateful in their own right at worst. 

We feign shock and awe when someone makes an inflammatory remark, disturbed that someone in 2013 could not only hold such opinions but feel comfortable enough with them to air them publicly. But, really, why are we surprised given the reaction they elicited from the men who Sergio spends the majority of his time with? Why would we expect anything different when his peers seem not to? 

Sergio Garcia has always been childish. We know this. He came up as a brazen teenager, eagerly staring down the game's greats with flair to match his game. But a funny thing happened—Sergio Garcia never grew up.

He never became anything more than that same brash kid with prodigious talent without the head space to match. He's consistently wilted under pressure, whether Tiger's stalking him or not, and we shouldn't be stunned when he escalates a petty feud to this level of hatred. This is all he has left as he stares into his 30s and wonders about the career that could have been.

What should very much concern us, though, is the institutional reaction—something that can't simply be measured by an official press release. If systemic change is ever going to happen, it's going to stem from someone setting an example. Someone needs to be willing to get angry, to throw golf's antiquated sense of decorum to the wind and call out his (or her) peers.

This isn't simply "a bit of a mountain out of a molehill." These are attitudes still all too pervasive in America today, and we shrug them off at our own risk. 

Those who are most able to effect change, to set the tone for future generations, have chosen to stand apathetically by—and that should make us as angry as anything.