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Tag:hsbc
Posted on: November 7, 2011 11:12 am
Edited on: November 7, 2011 11:47 am
 

Williams explains slur to Kiwis, makes it worse

ORLANDO, Fla. -- Steve Williams was in his comfort zone.

Speaking before members of his fraternity, clearly comfortable that he was among friends, self-assured that he had nothing but allies lending a sympathetic ear.

Sound familiar?

No, we’re not talking about the now-infamous caddie awards banquet on Friday night in China, where Williams offered a racial slur about former boss Tiger Woods that has since become the biggest topic in global golf.

Nope, we’re referencing a radio interview that Williams did with New Zealand talk-shot host Murray Deaker shortly before Sunday’s final round of the World Golf Championships mega-money HSBC Champions event in Shanghai.

Deaker freely professed to being Williams’ “mate” during the broadcast on influential Newstalk ZB in Auckland, and went out of his way to give his countryman every chance to explain away his comments at the raucous caddie dinner, where Williams received an award and used the term “black arse----” in reference to part of Woods’ anatomy.

Despite offering an apology on his website the day after his Woods quote came to light in several international publications, Williams seemed anything but contrite in the radio interview. At ease and clearly comfortable while speaking to a familiar audience in New Zealand’s most populated city, Williams was downright dismissive of the reaction his comments have caused.

Deaker began the interview by offering an olive branch, if not a get-out-of-jail-free card, to Williams by excusing the comments since they were uttered at a caddie function where hilarity was the order of the day.

Said Deaker: “I wonder if we understand the environment where the Steve Williams comments were passed. It was a caddies’ function …. I think a caddies' function would be somewhat different, than suddenly what you have to say there appearing, stark, in newspapers around the world, and front pages at that.”

Williams, speaking from Shanghai, attempted to set the context of the scene in a posh Shanghai hotel, where his verbal bomb went off.

“It’s an annual thing they have at the HSBC championship here in Shanghai, an annual caddie awards ceremony,” Williams said by phone. “It’s strictly for caddies only. Of course, some of the media invite themselves along. It’s kind of like a locker-room environment, everyone was having a good time. My comments were by no means the worst comments that were passed – there was a lot of profanity and other kinds of remarks.

“Just because I make a remark regarding my former employee (sic), it gets blown way out of proportion. You know, it’s absolutely ridiculous.”

Deaker cited a report in a prominent U.K. paper, the Daily Mail, which stated that several jaws dropped in the banquet room when Williams offered the slur. Williams said quite the opposite was true.

“No,” Williams said. “It’s incredible when you are actually there and at something, and you can even perceive that when you watch a game of rugby and are there and watch it and you read in the paper the difference of opinion between you watching and a reporter viewing it.

“It’s the same thing. It was a fun sort of thing and everyone laughed their heads off. So what you read is absolutely ridiculous.”

Everyone laughed their heads off? Interestingly, a couple of caddies wasted no time in communicating their thoughts about Williams to scribes staying in Shanghai, though few spoke for attribution.

Deaker, clearly intent on helping Williams clean up his mess, suggested that stories quoting anonymous caddies had been completely fabricated by the print media. One caddie who was not identified was quoted in a story as saying of Williams, “We knew he was an idiot, but we didn’t know he was a racist idiot.”

“Murray, you make one comment like that in a room having a bit of fun, how does that make you a racist?” Williams said. “We live in a country that is multi-cultural society and we owe a hell of a lot of our ancestry and tradition and culture in New Zealand to a lot of the Polynesian communities and that. I don’t think you can say anyone in New Zealand is a racist.

“We live in the Maori culture, which is a great culture, along with a lot of island people. New Zealanders in no way, I don’t think any New Zealander, is racist. That’s so far off beat it’s a joke.”

Speaking of jokes, that’s what Williams says his crack about Woods was intended to be. He said defensively that other humor of the night and said he had no idea that he had stepped on his tongue publicly yet again.

“I wasn’t the first person up on stage and having listened to some of the profanity that was used and coming from some of the players that were in attendance as well, and then listening to the HSCB spokesperson who got up and made a speech, and listened to some of his comments that were very funny but way worse than mine -- no one mentioned anything about what he had to say.

“I didn’t give it one thought, to be honest with you.”

Well, certainly not beforehand, anyway. Sort of makes his apology ring hollow, no?

Given the banquet’s rowdy nature, Deaker asked why this had happened to Williams.

“I think, obviously, having worked for my former employee (sic), anything that’s linked to him – and of course I worked for him for a substantial amount of time – any sort of controversy that somebody can make up, I think that’s the sort they love to do.

“Like I said, it is absolutely making a mountain hill out of a mole hole. I am not worried about it one bit.”

Sounds like he’s really learned a lesson, huh?

The PGA and European tours on Sunday jointly declined to sanction Williams over his comments, though it's within their purview to do so. Williams' new boss, Adam Scott, reiterated Sunday that he will not bench Williams and the pair are set to team up at three big events in Scott's native Australia over the next month, including the Australian Open and Presidents Cup matches over the next two weeks.

Category: Golf
Posted on: October 24, 2011 6:36 pm
Edited on: October 24, 2011 7:17 pm
 

Oh, wait, Luke: Tour season's not over after all

ORLANDO, Fla. -- After a season of utter parity, most of us thought we finally had a grip on the PGA Tour’s wide-open Player of the Year thing.

Not so fast.

Why?

Because the tour ain’t so swift.

Last week at the season finale at Disney World, news outlets were told that the tour would be mailing ballots for Player of the Year voting either today or Tuesday, since the money title had been clinched and the last official event had ended.

Well, turns out, there’s official, semi-official, and just plain embarrassing.

On Monday, the tour brass in Ponte Vedra Beach instead elected to wait another two weeks after realizing it had made a scheduling oversight, and will now postpone sending out the ballots until next month.

While that is arguably the most prudent course of action given that the season really isn’t over after all, it certainly raises the question of who’s minding the store, doesn’t it?

The confusion mostly stems from the fact that there are more false endings to the U.S. tour season than on the entire Beatles White Album, and this season, the last event on the ledger left the tour in a red-faced position.

The gaffe apparently was pointed out to the tour by a beat reporter on Monday who noted that because two quasi-official Asian events set for the next two weeks were moved back after Disney on this season’s lineup card, a handful of players still in the mix for top-player and top-rookie honors should be given the opportunity to make a last splash before ballots were mailed. A tour communications official said he could not speak to "the timing or what prompted the change." 

So now we get two more weeks of the season that never ends, a full fortnight of more hype, last-ditch Hail Marys and potentially ballot-bending accomplishments. Against fields that are one-half and one-third the size of a regular-season event.

This week’s event in Malaysia and next week’s HSBC Champions event in China are sanctioned by the PGA Tour, but fall into weird classification cracks. The money on the two limited-field cash grabs is unofficial, but the tour last year designated the HSBC as counting as an official tournament victory … if it’s claimed by a member of the PGA Tour.

Got it?

That means that for entrants like Keegan Bradley, one of seven players tied with a tour-high two wins this season, will get another chance to become the first player to collect a trio of titles. Masters winner Charl Schwartzel is also expected to play, and a victory could mean he gets a few PoY votes, too, or closes in on Bradley for the tour’s top-rookie honors.

Nothing wrong with that – though it should have been noticed and noted before Monday.

Beyond that central point is another concern. Frankly, anybody familiar with the thin attention span of the average tour player won’t find this prediction wildly off-base: The delay in mailing the ballots won’t help world No. 1’s Luke Donald much.

In the minds of many, Donald nailed down the Player of the Year award on Sunday when he shot 30 on the back nine at Disney to win his second U.S. event of the season, clinching the money title as well as two separate trophies for having the season’s best adjusted stroke average.

Based on the recency theory alone – and the fact that Disney World is still echoing with calls of Luuuuuuke -- it’s not a huge stretch to assume that a player with a ballot in hand by mid-week would have been much more likely to recall Donald’s Disney heroics than if the voter is asked to wait 2-3 more weeks to cast a vote.

The earnings title aside, the consensus was that Donald nailed down the PoY award, which was a huge reason he added the Disney tournament to his schedule in the first place.

Now we wait until the HSBC event in China ends on Nov. 6?

The first fake ending came at the FedEx Cup finale in Atlanta in September. You know, the one routinely marketed as the “season-ending playoffs.”

Yeah, except for the four events in the Fall Series.

Oh, and two more in Asia. Note to Ponte Vedrans: When it comes time to order 2012 office supplies from Dunder Mifflin, buy a couple of calendars.

This rant is officially over. Though just to level the field, that notion is subject to further review.

Posted on: November 2, 2010 12:48 pm
Edited on: November 2, 2010 1:43 pm
 

Tiger: When P.R. stunts go wrong

Tiger Woods has arrived in Shanghai, where somebody involved with running the HSBC Champions event thought it would be a good idea to have him pose with some local cutlery as a publicity stunt.

Yeah, after the year he had, he really needs to reinforce the idea that he's a master swordsman.SHANGHAI, CHINA - NOVEMBER 02:  Tiger Woods of the USA receives a Tai Chi lesson with swords during the 2010 WGC-HSBC Champions Photocall at The Peninsula hotel on The Bund, Shanghai on November 2, 2010 in Shanghai, China.

Category: Golf
Posted on: May 18, 2010 11:32 am
 

In tourspeak, Malaysia's officially unofficial

The PGA Tour made another foray into the increasingly lucrative Asian market Tuesday when it formally announced that an event in Malaysia, long in the works, has been added to the schedule in a previously scheduled off week in the 2010 fall calendar.

The format and tie-ins are interesting -- as is the reasoning behind the various asterisks assigned to anybody who plays in the event.

The event will be called the CIMB Asia Pacific Classic, will be co-sanctioned by the Asian Tour, and features a staggering purse of $6 million U.S. greenbacks, with a cool million awarded to the winner. The 40-man field will be limited to the top 25 from the FedEx Cup series, the 10 top players from the Asian Tour money list and five sponsor exemptions. That's the same purse that Jack Nicklaus is offering at the Memorial Tournament in two weeks.

In other words, as though there wasn't enough show-up money involved for the top FedEx finishers by making it to the Tour Championship in Atlanta, they get another free check in Kuala Lumpur as well because there's no cut and last place is guaranteed $50,000.

But like with the recently sanctioned HSBC Champions event in China, the money and the victory are unofficial in the eyes of the PGA Tour, partly because it would throw the season-long money list all out of whack during the Fall Series, when the rank-and-file U.S. tour members are playing out the season for much smaller purses.

The same stipulations were applied to the HSBC, which has been elevated to a World Golf Championships events and also features a limited international field, when the PGA Tour annexed and sanctioned it two years ago. However, while the HSBC money remains unofficial, a victory counts for a two-year exemption on the U.S. tour.

It's a delicate issue and smacks of exclusion in the eyes of the free-market types.

The U.S. tour brass was met with pushback from its players on whether the Asian money should count and if a two-year exemption on the HSBC should apply, because some believed the big purses skewed the money list with only the Walt Disney World season finale remaining, that the limited field excluded journeymen players who wouldn't get a crack at the heightened HSBC purse, and because of concerns that an obscure foreign player might win and earn an automatic two-year exemption in the States.

The Malaysian situation is analagous. Which isn't to say the victory won't become official at some point, like with the HSBC.

"HSBC was unofficial on both [the money and victory exemption] in the first year of its sanction," PGA Tour spokesman Ty Votaw said. "Malaysia is the same in its first year."

The CIMB event is set for Oct. 28-31, after the U.S. tour stop in Las Vegas, and before HSBC on Nov. 4-7. The title sponsor is a banking and financial services company.

The U.S. tour finale at Disney World is Nov. 11-13. The CIMB joins the McGladrey Classic at Sea Island, Ga., as a new event in 2010 in the fall.


Category: Golf
Tags: hsbc, malaysia
 
Posted on: May 18, 2010 11:30 am
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