'There's not enough Black people' in golf, says Lee Westwood

CNN/Stylemagazine.com Newswire | 7/8/2020, 3:29 p.m.
Former world No. 1 golfer Lee Westwood says golf has some work to do in addressing issues of diversity within ...
Lee Westwood (right) says the despite the "best player" in golf --Tiger Woods (left) -- being Black, golf can do more to promote the game with non-White players./Credit: Matthew Lewis/Getty Images Europe/Getty Images

By Calum Trenaman and Amanda Davies, CNN

(CNN) -- Former world No. 1 golfer Lee Westwood says golf has some work to do in addressing issues of diversity within the sport and that it's "dominated by White people."

While many other sportspeople and sports organizations like Formula 1, the NFL and Premier League soccer have been vocal in support of the Black Lives Matter movement since the killing of George Floyd, Westwood agrees that golf has been far quieter.

During an Instagram Live interview yesterday with CNN's Amanda Davies, he said: "You know, arguably, the best player in our sport is Black [Tiger Woods] and he's done a lot to promote golf in different ethnic quarters. But I think we can always do more for sure."

'Sport should be for everybody'

During the PGA Tour's resumption at the Charles Schwab Challenge last month, a moment of silence was held during each round in place of the 8:46 a.m. CT (2:45 p.m. BST) tee time. Eight minutes and 46 seconds is how long Floyd was filmed pinned under the police officer's knee.

Briton Westwood said part of the problem is the perception of golf as a "White sport."

"I think it's still perceived as a White sport if I'm being completely honest," he said. "If you look at the people that partake in it, and certainly the crowds that turn up, it's dominated by White people.

"There's not enough Black people that come into the game. I don't know what the answer is to that. But there has to be an answer because sport should be for everybody, shouldn't it?"

In a statement sent to CNN Sport, the European Tour said it played in 31 countries across five continents, had members from 35 countries and winners from 36 countries since the Tour began in 1972.

"We are the gatekeepers of the professional game and we discriminate against nobody," added the Tour statement. "Anyone who comes through the junior or amateur ranks, from any country, to qualify for our Tour, we welcome with open arms.

"Diversity is something we celebrate each day, but at the same time we also continue to listen and work on ways to broaden golf's appeal, and golf participation, to all areas of society. We also stand in solidarity with everyone wishing to end all forms of discrimination."

The Royal & Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews, which together with the US Golf Association (USGA), governs the sport of golf worldwide, was not immediately available to comment at the time of publication.

In the US, approximately 25% of those who played on a golf course for the first time in 2017 were non-White.

However, 82% of all golfers in the US are White, while 25% of junior golfers (aged 6-17) were non-White.

The PGA Tour sent a statement to CNN Sport, saying: "We agree with Lee that our game is not as diverse as we would like from an audience, recreational or player perspective.