Tiger Woods' former caddie Steve Williams made discouraging and racial comments about his former employer at the caddie awards last week. When asked about his victory caddying for Adam Scott at the WGC Bridgestone Invitational, Williams said he wanted to "shove it up his black a**hole." Williams later apologized to Woods face to face for his insensitive and poor choice of words. In the aftermath, Tiger admitted he was hurt by the comments, but didn't think Steve Williams was a racist and life goes forward.
Personally, I would have preferred to hear a different response. It isn't that Tiger handled the situation poorly, in fact, he handled the situation with professionalism. The problem is that Tiger Woods seems unwilling to ever address the subject of race. He skirts around the topic and acts as if the color of his skin has no influence on the way people perceive him.
In Tiger's mind he's just a golfer who happens to be a minority. His Caublanasian roots are of no real significance and his athletic accomplishments speak for themselves. It's a very optimistic view of the world, but also extremely naive.
What Tiger Woods fails to realize is the perception that everyone else has. Steve Williams didn't say he wanted to shove it up his Asian a**hole or his white a**hole, he said he wanted to shove it up his black a**hole. Tiger Woods is perceived as a black man whether he likes it or not, and unfortunately there are race related issues that come with that distinction.
Tiger Woods is a polarizing figure for many reasons, and race is one of them. He excels in a predominantly white sport which, in itself, makes him an anomaly. I'm not saying Tiger should show up to golf tournaments in an dashiki bumping Public Enemy and telling the world George Bush hates black people, I'm just saying he needs to be more cognizant of his surroundings. At least acknowledge that the color of your skin is a factor, sometimes. Tiger Woods may be color blind, but the world is not.