Golfer Steve Elkington apologises for his offensive tweets
Australian facing disciplinary action over his comments during the Senior British Open
Steve Elkington of Australia on the first tee during the third round of The Senior Open Championship at Royal Birkdale. Photo: Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images
Steve Elkington, the 1995 US PGA champion, has thrown himself on the mercy of the European Tour over an offensive tweet he sent on Saturday morning and another from Friday in which he castigated the town of Southport, much of its population and its food.
“Couple caddies got rolled by some Pakkis, bad night for them”, was the missive Elkington issued in the morning, following on from one in which he suggested that spending his week in the respectable Lancashire coastal town, which is hosting the Senior British Open this week, was an experience he is not enjoying.
“Things about Southport . . . fat tattooed guy, fat tattooed girl, trash, Pakistani robber guy, shit food.”
Leaving aside the potential actions of the golf authorities, the language the 50-year-old used may see him the subject of legal action.
Elkington left the recorders’ hut with his caddie after signing for a one-over 71 and headed straight for the competitors’ car park.
A European Tour official said the Australian did not wish to add to his statement which was issued at 2.15pm, 20 minutes after he teed off the third round accompanied by a policeman for the opening holes.
“I am prepared to adhere to any disciplinary action that the Championship sees fit,” it read. “In my tweet I was referring to an unfortunate incident involving a caddie earlier in the week. Being Australian, I was unaware that my use of language in relation to the Pakistani people would cause offence, but having been made aware I now deeply regret the use of that terminology.
“Southport is a beautiful place and I have enjoyed playing at Royal Birkdale, as my positive content on Twitter has shown. My comments were born out of frustration over what had happened to a colleague.”
Elkington was politely clapped by a largely unwitting crowd as he was introduced on the first tee and was the personification of politeness when he asked a fairway marshall to stand out of his eyeline before playing his second shot into the par-four sixth hole.
Earlier the European Tour issued a statement to say that it had spoken to Elkington about his “inappropriate and regrettable comments” and said the matter will be reviewed before the Championship considers disciplinary action.
“Steve has expressed his regret at his comments and wishes to apologise to the Championship and the people of Southport for any offence caused,” it added.