Monday, February 14, 2011

Tiger Woods learns that loose lips incur fines on European Tour

A portion of the $3 million appearance fee Tiger Woods reportedly earned in Dubai will go towards paying off a fine incurred on the 12th hole of Emirates Golf Course.

Announcers were quick to berate him about it.

"Disgusting, what he has just done there," said Sky Sports commentator Ewen Murray. "But there are some parts of him that are just arrogant and petulant. Somebody now has to come behind him and maybe putt over his spit. It does not get much lower than that."

The Huffington Post, in addition to posting a video showing Tiger Woods' spittle on the green, reported a derogatory comment issued by comedian Bill Murray regarding the incident, "one of the ugliest things you will ever see on a golf course."

Tiger Woods spitting incident was indeed ugly (did he realize the cameras were on him?) and I noticed that Woods spat a few times during his round but it did not look intentional. Although I'm not defending his actions, he has done it before without receiving a fine; according to Michael Bamberger, on the 18th tee at the Masters, but, as Bamberger defended, due to allergic reactions to the great outdoors.

In stark contrast was Sergio Garcia's intentional blob of goo directed into the bottom of the cup after missing a putt on the 13th green at the 2007 WGC-CA Championship at Doral GC. (If I remember correctly, Tom Lehman was the next to putt.)

Garcia's response showed a lack of class, "Yes I did it," he admitted. "I'm not going to pretend I didn't. But there was nothing to it. I missed a putt and I was not too happy. Don't worry, it [the spit] did go in the middle. It wasn't going to affect anybody else and if it did I would have wiped it off."

Tiger Woods has been tight-lipped about his indiscretion up until now but I hope that he will accept his penalty with grace and polish. (see update, below)

The next question is how closely is the code of conduct and etiquette to be followed in golf?

The European Tour, it appears, will outwardly and staunchly hold to the code of golf remaining a "gentleman's game" (in other words, carry a handkerchief) by issuing a fine but I'm interested in seeing whether or not the PGA Tour follows suit in making expectorating without good reason an etiquette violation.

Or, will it be the fans who start calling into the PGA Tour every time a loogie is dropped?

Tiger Woods Update: I mentioned above that I believed Tiger Woods would show grace under fire...and so he has! Woods stated the following on his Twitter account today:

"It was inconsiderate to spit like that and I know better. Just wasn't thinking and want to say I'm sorry."

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