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PGA Needs to Take Stand on South African Policies

December 21, 1985

I am a sometime golf fan who enjoys major events on TV, especially when Nicklaus and Palmer are involved. I was repulsed to learn that some PGA Tour golfers participate annually in the Sun City Million Dollar Challenge in South Africa.

Sure, the money is a temptation, but numerous corporations, as well as individual entertainers and athletes, have had the moral courage to publicly state that they will not participate in sporting events involving South African teams or do business with South Africa in any way as long as that country maintains its apartheid policies. Obviously, such considerations did not bother or deter Bernhard Langer, Lanny Wadkins, Mark O'Meara, Seve Ballesteros, Lee Trevino, T. C. Chen, David Graham, Hubert Green or Sandy Lyle.

It would be a blow to the South African image if the PGA could get itself together and draft a resolution banning participation by its members (of whatever nationality) from taking part in South African golf tournaments. Such big-money tournaments do nothing but add luster to the public relations fraud that South Africa is a "normal" country worthy of acceptance by the international (sports) community. As most people know, South Africa is a moral and political abomination.

If the PGA has any guts, it will recognize this fact and do something to stop golfers from contributing to South Africa's false image-making.

Unfortunately, it appears that the PGA may not have the required moral courage. A call to PGA headquarters in Ponte Vedra, Fla., elicited this response from spokesman Steve Rankin: "(The Sun City event) has nothing whatsoever to do with the PGA Tour. We really don't have a political policy whatsoever. We have not taken a political position. . . . Our players exercise their individual decisions in matters of this nature."

AUSTIN STRAUS

Los Angeles

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