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Garcia threw out the racial stereotype the same day that the Royal & Ancient Golf Club and U.S. Golf Association introduced Rule 14-1b, effective in 2016, that would ban the anchored stroke used for long putters _ like the one Scott used when he won the Masters, or the one Els used at the British Open, and Webb Simpson in the U.S. Open, and the ones used by Tim Clark and Carl Pettersson their entire pro careers.

At least three players, including Scott, have retained a lawyer as they wait to see whether the PGA Tour goes along with the new rule. The tour met with its Player Advisory Council on Tuesday at Muirfield Village, the first step toward figuring out which direction it will go.

According to one PAC member at the meeting, there was passion on both sides of the debate, which was not surprising. And there was no consensus, also not surprising. This was only a conversation, and from all indications, no one called anyone names.

So much for golf’s reputation as a genteel sport.

“Is it bad for golf?” Nick Watney said Tuesday afternoon. “It depends on your theory of publicity. If you had the Kardashian feeling that any publicity is good publicity, then it’s good. If you’re a purist in terms of golf, then it’s bad. The lawsuits, the rule change, the little feud going on. My view is that it’s bad. This is supposed to be a gentleman’s game. We’re different from a lot of other pro sports.”

This isn’t the first time golf has gone way beyond birdies and bogeys.

There was the lawsuit involving Ping and the square grooves in the 1980s. There was Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus, leading the breakaway from the PGA of America to start what is now the PGA Tour at the end of the 1960s. Imagine if Woods and Phil Mickelson did something like that today.

“It’s not a perfect game,” Curtis Strange said. “Some people believe there’s no such thing as bad press, but it seems like we’re still having growing issues. We’re learning how to handle doping issues, although nobody has learned to do that yet. I’m been reading about Lance Armstrong all day.”

It always seemed like some other sport’s problems, and now some of those problems belong to golf.

“It’s been great on the golf course _ fantastic, really,” Geoff Ogilvy said. “Tiger has won four times. The Masters was amazing again. Any time golf is in the newspaper, it’s a good thing for us. Obviously, the Sergio-Tiger thing wasn’t good. But it has been a tumultuous year.”

And it’s not anything Finchem can make go away with a wave of his hand. Considering that golf is a niche sport, maybe that’s not the worst thing.

“Outside the ropes, golf is probably more interesting than it ever has been,” Robert Garrigus said. “I don’t think it’s all that bad if it makes our sport more interesting. There might be a few more people come out to the U.S. Open.”

That would be good for golf. Maybe not so much for Garcia.