Mike Garrett has been replaced as USC Athletic Director by Pat Haden. This change becomes effective on August 3, 2010. Garrett had been on the job for 17 years, and during that time the athletic program has enjoyed unparalleled success. This change may be the result of the Reggie Bush scandal, which led to severe sanctions for USC. The major complaint that I have heard is that the NCAA felt that somehow the USC Athletic Department should have known that the Bush family was living rent-free in a house near San Diego. It is not clear to me how any university can completely monitor the activities of all of the athletes and their parents. Haden is a good man, and I do not begrudge him his success. However, considering Garrett's many accomplishments, I feel very badly about this change, and I also know that many of the USC Alumni feel the same way.
DOWN MEMORY LANE
Last week I casually flipped on the television to watch the British Open Golf tournament, which was being played in Scotland. I just wanted to check to see how Tiger was doing. He had not yet begun to play, but to my astonishment I saw a man whom I initially believed was an African-American Caddie. There may now be more than one, but he is the first that I recall seeing in several years. I am not saying that there are not any others, but if there are, I don't recall seeing them. I did not recognize the golfer that he was caddying for, since I only recognize the usual suspects like Woods, Mickelson, and the like.
So, I decided to watch the tournament, which was being played on the golf course that it appeared to be designed by Fred Flintstone.I wanted to learn the name of the golfer. It turns out his name is Louis Oosthuizen and both he and his caddie are South Africans.
Oosthuizen was leading the field at that moment, but he was not expected to win. It was obvious that there was a great rapport between him and his caddie, as they consulted their notes and discuss the next shot that he was going to take. To the surprise of the golfing world, Oosthuizen won the British Open, and he has become an instant worldwide celebrity. Golf is such a challenging sport, that it is difficult to predict whether or not he will never win another tournament, but he did show the skills that are necessary for him to have a very successful career.
The income that successful professional golfers earn has increased astronomically. For example, the winner of the British Open received a check for about 1.5 million dollars. Traditionally, his caddie would receive 10% of that, which is not bad for a week's work.
Back in the day, golf didn't make nearly that much, so in many cases they and their caddies were just scraping by. Steve Williams, the caddie for Tiger Woods, has been earning well over $1 million per year, for the past several years. He lives in New Zealand, and he owns an automobile race track, and he reportedly has extensive real estate holdings. In addition, he has become a celebrity in his own right, and he does commercials over there.
I found that I was intrigued by the presence of his caddie. If you have ever watched any of the golf news reels from the 30s, 40s, 50s, and 60s, you saw that all of the caddies were African-Americans, and none of the golfers were. Now, there are so few of them left, that they could be classified as an endangered species. I have no idea how this happened, but I do find it peculiar, and I hope reversible.