Tiger Woods shot -4 (68, T7) in the first round of the WGC AmEx Championship in Kilkenny, Ireland. He did so while battling a stinging pain between his shoulder blades. The pain was so great at times that Woods was visibly hurting, hunching over, and wincing in pain. Particularly on his first nine and on iron shots, one of the game's greatest players had to bend over and "granny smithed" his ball from the hole after making putts.
There's been some speculation that Woods was faking it or "whining." Why, when Woods has played through pain before, would some be so quick to cry wolf when Tiger cries "owwwww?" Still others have bemoaned the "charter jet" lifestyle, saying "If Woods thinks charter jets are rough, he should try coach!" This misses the point. Woods has not whined. He's played through pain in the past and today, played through even more to shoot, let's not forget, a 68.
I can't help but think that the negative reaction to his announcement that he may have to withdraw may have unnecessarily kept him in the tournament. Risking injury just to shut up a few people who really don't deserve to be passing judgment may not be a sound move, but I've gained nothing but respect and admiration for a man who has shown that he can speak his mind honestly and plainly and play through pain. I, like many, hold Tiger to a high standard. I doubt he'd have it any other way. However, taking cheap shots at Tiger doesn't make Woods look cheap. It only makes those taking the shots look cheap.
Besides, it's not like he switched equipment companies after a record-setting year and a week before the Ryder Cup, right?