Originally Posted by Golfingdad
Vijay Singh isn't African-American (obviously) since he's, you know, neither African nor American. But let's be realistic here ... he is black.
Answer me this question, and be honest; Do you think that Vijay would have been welcome at Augusta National, Shoal Creek, or any of the other exclusionary golf clubs back before 1990 (or whenever it was that they decided to stop being racists)?
Of course not. And why? Because, duh, for all (racist) intents and purposes, the dude is black. Vladimir Guerrero, David Ortiz, et. al are black. Mario Balotelli ... he's just Italian. ;)
Golfingdad, the question for me isn't whether Vijay would be welcomed at a 1950's era Shoal Creek (admittedly, he probably would not), but would he have been welcomed on the PGA Tour. It is impossible to know.
As an Indo Fijian, Singh probably experienced more ethnic discrimination in Fiji than he ever experienced in the USA or anywhere else in the world. He grew up quite poor, and the subject of overt racism by ethic Fijians against him because of his Indian background. That did not happen here, it happened in his own country of Fiji.
To the best of my knowledge, Singh is the first Hindu to qualify for the Tour, Fijian, Indian, or from any other place where Hinduism is practiced. To the best of my knowledge, he is also the first player from what could be included as a Polynesian (not exactly, but close) Island to qualify to play on Tour. Once he qualified he played. No one ever tried to stop him. When Japanese players Jumbo Ozaki, Tommy Nakijima and Isao Aoki qualified in the 1960's thru the 1980's, they played. The USA interred Japanese during WW2, but these Japanese were welcomed with open arms.
f you want to talk about golfers that might look like Vijay Singh, since he is of Indian descent, let's talk about Golf in India. India's governing body for golf is The India Golf Union. It only began in 1955, so one can assume no player from India was good enough to play on Tour until well after that date. Unless someone here can name one. I tried to find one using search engines and could not. That country is huge, but still has only 156 golf courses, or about 40% the number that exist in the State of Virginia, a place fractionally the size of India.
I agree the world was different then, in lots of ways. Both here in the US., and everywhere else on the planet. But we have gotten so far side tracked here it isn't funny. None of this suggests there is someone out there that would have been better than Jack Nicklaus, if only he wasn't discriminated against. The thread has basically just devolved into a political argument.