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Tiger, You’ve Crossed the Line

Nov. 15, 2009     By     Comments (51)

Once is a mistake. Any more than that and it's a pattern, buddy.

Thrash TalkAustralia wisely invested $3M to lure Tiger Woods to the JBWere Masters, and they were treated to nothing less than Tiger's best effort in a two-shot victory.

Fortunately for Tiger and those same Australians, nobody was treated for an injury caused by a flying Nike driver, which only moments earlier had let the world's best golfer down with a poor tee shot on the thirteenth hole Saturday.

I've excused Tiger's verbal outbursts in the past. Ben wrote an article about them and largely supported Tiger as well. I continue not to care about Tiger's verbal outbursts, and will point out that he seems to have improved both in volume and content in recent years.

But tossing a club into a crowd of people? Well, now, that's well across the line.

So far as I know, Tiger's thrown a club only a few times like this - an overhanded hammer-throw - only once before. That happened at TPC Boston on a secluded tee well away from spectators.

He's thrown or slammed - sometimes quite violently - clubs into the ground, his golf bag, bunkers, and even a tee or plastic bottle - on several occasions. He's cursed and sworn, occasionally quite loudly, in the past as well.

These acts don't bother me so much. I prefer to see golfers who show a bit of emotion, and I think this aspect of Tiger is the yin to his fist-pumping yang. Take away one part and you'd be left with an unbalanced Tiger.

Tiger Retrieves Driver
Tiger Woods retrieves his driver from the gallery after chucking it following a poor tee shot.

But there can be no offsetting yang large enough to absolve a yin which puts spectators at risk of injury (however small).

All that said, I'm willing to give Tiger Woods a pass on this incident. And before everyone jumps on me and accuses me of being a Tiger Woods apologist, read on.

Tiger gets a pass on this occurrence because people make mistakes. However, a smart person who cares about the traditions of the game as well as the respect and safety of the fans will learn from his mistake, and Tiger Woods is a smart guy. Additionally, there are ten ways in which this type of behavior can hurt him and none in which it can help, so even if Tiger's a prima donna jerk who doesn't really care if someone's eyeball gets in the way of his hurtling titanium, he's smart enough to realize that this behavior can't help him win golf tournaments, it can't help him fund the Tiger Woods Learning Center or his children's great-great grandchildren's lives, or anything else.

Everyone makes mistakes. People worth respecting learn from their mistakes and don't make them again. While the lesser offense of slamming a golf club down away from spectators may or may not cross your own personal line of "showing respect" or "acting like an adult," you'd be hard pressed to find a sane person whose line sits beyond "tossed clubs entering the gallery." That's just to say that while you'll find disagreement that the occasional "goddammit Tiger" is a mistake (or not), nobody will disagree that this most recent act is an egregious one.

I'm reminded of the time Bobby Jones threw a golf club (as detailed in the Mark Frost biography The Grand Slam):

But just prior to that, dissatisfied with his approach shot, Bobby had thrown his club back toward his bag, lying on the ground near the gallery. The club glanced off the bag, bounced up, and hit a female spectator in the lower leg… Walker [USGA President] warned: "You will never play in a USGA event again unless you learn to control your temper."

Tiger, you've crossed the line, both metaphorically and physically (the rope that's supposed to separate a player - and his equipment - from the gallery). Like Bobby Jones before him, Tiger is human. He deserves most of what people are saying, but he deserves a chance - like Bobby Jones - to realize the error of his ways and change his behavior.

I hope never to see a golfer behave like this again.

Photo Credits: © golf.com.

Discussion

  1. dummyisdumb says:

    This guy's attitude is really too much.

    The cussing, the slamming. Golfers should be respectful.

  2. golfanatic says:

    I concur with your comments. I assume that he threw the club at the ground and it bounced up into the crowd, as opposed to his directly tossing it into the crowd, but that doesn't matter.

    I formerly played tennis, and whenever my opponent would turn around and heave his racket at the fence behind him, I would smile to myself at the frustration I was causing him. But, any time an opponent would heave his racket at the net (with me opposite him), I would NEVER play with that person again because that action could have hurt me if he overshot his mark. Now, whenever I play with a golfer who "throws" his club (as opposed to letting it drop to the ground at the conclusion of his swing, or holding onto it and banging the club-head into the ground), I NEVER play with that player again. There are degrees of frustration exhibited by players that exceed the bounds of acceptable behavior, and I feel ANY throwing of a club, in whatever direction, is unacceptable.

    I certainly hope Tiger changes this behavior, though he certainly wasn't apologetic when holding out his hand to retrieve the club.

    I also feel he went overboard in his reaction to a photographer snapping his picture in the middle of his swing. Golfers need to learn to play in other than absolute silence. If someone had yelled out in the middle of his swing, then his response, or greater, would have been appropriate.

    I think the worst thing pro golfers do (or Don't do), is NOT Yelling out "Fore" when they hit shots that are likely to end up in the gallery. I think they do this in hopes that their ball will hit someone in the gallery (hopefully without hurting them TOO Badly) and stop it from going far away from the fairway.

  3. seattlemudder says:

    I agree with your writing. It seems to me in watching his demeanor that he was just going through the motions and didn't really want to be there. He seemed dour and expressionless - even more than normal. There was no connection to the crowds many of which are going there to see him.

  4. Smilesy says:

    To me it looked as though he through the club straight ahead of him, and it bounced into the crowd. So I don't really blame him for that, but I do think (and i maybe wrong) that he didn't apologize at all for it, and that is where I loose a lot of respect for him. He made a mistake, which everyone does from time to time, but he seemed to have no remorse for it. He just look f$%ed off about it.

  5. JERoethel says:

    I agree with mudder. It looked like he didn't want to be there. He got 3M just to show up? It's hard to believe the sponsors of the tournament sold enough extra tickets to justify the 3M. I suppose the ad boards next to the green helped pay the bill.

    Speaking of which, there are a few spots on my course that could use some on course ad boards so I can get a free drop.

    Finally, I bet Nike chipped in too, since Tiger wore his caps with the swoosh on the front all week, instead of the TW logo that he wears on the front at least the first two rounds.

  6. Treetop says:

    While Tiger may turn out to be the greatest golfer ever he is no Arnold Palmer. Now Arnie had charisma and was a people person, he always seemed to appreciate the galleries around him. Tiger seems to care less if anyone follows him or gets in his way.

    The club throwing thing should come with a suspension of some sort or better yet donate the prize money of his next 2 wins to charity.

    Now that should stop the club throwing.

    I know the loss of money would not really affect Tiger. It would send a message to the kids that think this kind of behavior is ok if you are a great sports figure.

  7. Shaun says:

    I don't agree that Woods was just going through the motions. I followed him around Kingston Heath on Thursday and it didn't appear that way to me at all. He only threw the club because he wasn't happy with the shot; if he was content simply to rock up, collect his $3m and move on, I doubt he'd be that concerned.

    As for the economical efficacy in paying the appearance fee, you have to remember that half of that money was provided by the State government and it was estimated that Woods's appearance in Melbourne will have ploughed some $19m, at least, into the Victorian economy. So, I think you could justify the money on that basis if your politics lean that way. Mine don't, for what it's worth, but I'm happy to see my tax dollars spent on golf. If we're supposed to take the Australian Masters seriously as a golf tournament, you might also question the appropriateness of a $3m appearance fee, when the winner takes home only $300k. That's just the way it works, I guess; and let's be honest, it was a Tiger exhibition, not a real tournament.

    More relevantly, I agree with the writer. He obviously did the wrong thing, but let's move on for the moment; hopefully, it won't happen again.

  8. Frank says:

    I think he should hear from his mother and she needs to tell him to make his father proud.

  9. It looked like he didn't want to be there. He got 3M just to show up? It's hard to believe the sponsors of the tournament sold enough extra tickets to justify the 3M.

    I disagree that he looked like he didn't want to be there.

    Also, of the $3M, 50% of it goes right back in taxes, and they sold MORE than enough to make up the remaining $1.5M. 100,000+ tickets were sold, not to mention the boost to the local economy.

    I don't agree that Woods was just going through the motions. I followed him around Kingston Heath on Thursday and it didn't appear that way to me at all. He only threw the club because he wasn't happy with the shot; if he was content simply to rock up, collect his $3m and move on, I doubt he'd be that concerned.

    Agreed. Tiger simply doesn't "go through the motions." I don't think he'd know how. Besides, if Tiger could win while "going through the motions" then that doesn't speak well for the rest of the field.

    More relevantly, I agree with the writer. He obviously did the wrong thing, but let's move on for the moment; hopefully, it won't happen again.

    Yes, let's stick to the topic, please. Thank you.

  10. Robert Lawrence says:

    Well, I appreciate your sentiment, but wasn't Bobby Jones about 14 years old when that happened? And after someone politely told him to knock it off he realized he was behaving like a total ass and cleaned up his act? Tiger's been throwing clubs and cussing up a blue streak since his Amateur days, and it's not like it hasn't been brought to his attention how lame it is and what a complete buffoon it makes him look like. Tough titty if he needs to release steam -- so does everyone else, but only idiots think they can lose their cool whenever it suits them. Oh, wait -- or Tiger.

  11. AD says:

    I struggle to understand the purpose or value of this story, especially the point of the author giving tiger a pass. The story would be more relevant if it raised the question of what people consider is acceptable behavior on a golf course or what punishment tiger should receive. I very much enjoy Erik's reviews and many of his other articles, but feel this was a brief and ill prepared attempt to be controversial. It must be very hard being tiger.

  12. Travis says:

    I can't help but remember a few lines from one of the greatest sports movies in history...

    Al Czervik: I'll bet you a hundred bucks you slice it into the woods.

    Judge Smails: Gambling is illegal at Bushwood sir, and I never slice

    Judge Smails: (slices his drive) DAAAAAAAAAMMMMMNNNN

    Al Czervik: OK you can owe me

    Judge Smails: I owe you nothing!

  13. Matt M says:

    I think it was an unfortunate act. Throwing a club at your bag or dropping it after your swing is one thing but hurling it down the fairway is another. With that said everyone has a dark moment in their golfing days or normal days for that matter. Some days we handle adversity with a stiff upper lip and other days we don't. I wish I could say I ve never let myself down with my actions but that has not always been the case. All you can do or Tiger is look at what happend admit it was wrong and change your behavior. I think we should give Tiger the same chance we give ourselves.

  14. Well, I appreciate your sentiment, but wasn't Bobby Jones about 14 years old when that happened? And after someone politely told him to knock it off he realized he was behaving like a total ass and cleaned up his act?

    Bobby was 19, I believe, and had been climbing the golf world (small as it was back then) for quite a few years at the time.

    Furthermore, Bobby was well-known for having a huge temper and tossing clubs. It's only when a tossed club actually struck someone and someone said something that he changed his ways.

    Tiger's been throwing clubs

    Not into galleries. It's an important distinction to me, and I would guess, to others who haven't really cared about the occasional "goddammit" or slam-club-agains-the-bag moments.

    I struggle to understand the purpose or value of this story

    You seem to be in the minority there. Tiger's crossed the line. Even his supporters (to this point, like myself) are saying it.

    That's all.

  15. Golf Ball Pro says:

    I think the throwing of the clubs isnt the best idea beacuase it will be even worse outcome if it hurts some one but it might take that to happen for him to change his attitude

  16. Gary Riecke says:

    I guess what upset me more was his lack of ownership of the deed. A reporter asked him about it and he never acknowleged it. Not excuse me, I'm sorry, or That was stupid, it was like it never happened. If they don't do something with the child soon he is going to hurt someone bad but then he has enough money to pay the lawsuit so he really doesn't care. He lost my respect as a champion a long time ago. Real champions don't do stuff like that.

  17. Trav says:

    IMO this is what happens when you get into a habit of throwing your club, even if not at someone. Club throwing is usually an instant reaction, not a pre-meditated act, so the thrower isn't likely to stop and think whether he's aiming at a crowd or just some harmless grass before he lets go. He's just angry.

    Plus, he already had an incident where he narrowly missed hitting a kid - I think it was Augusta - some years ago. One might think if he was going to learn the way Bobby Jones did from a near accident, that incident would have done it.

    He needs to take owernship of his behavior.

  18. Robert Lawrence says:

    Well, I appreciate your sentiment, but wasn't Bobby Jones about 14 years old when that happened? And after someone politely told him to knock it off he realized he was behaving like a total ass and cleaned up his act?

    Bobby was 19, I believe, and had been climbing the golf world (small as it was back then) for quite a few years at the time.

    Furthermore, Bobby was well-known for having a huge temper and tossing clubs. It's only when a tossed club actually struck someone and someone said something that he changed his ways.

    Not into galleries. It's an important distinction to me, and I would guess, to others who haven't really cared about the occasional "goddammit" or slam-club-against-the-bag moments.

    Well, my point was that Bobby Jones was a teenager, and that's the kind of stupid behavior one can expect from teenagers, at least before they get a tune up. Tiger is a grown up now, with a wife and family, and its really lame to see him having temper tantrums on the course. I know he's under pressure and scrutiny, but tough -- that's why he gets $3MM just for showing up in Australia. Whether he likes it or not, he is the game's ambassador. It's simply intolerable that he's throwing clubs at all on the course, regardless of whether he "accidentally" helicoptered it into the crowd or not. Remember back in 1947 when Frankie Stranahan got booted out of The Masters for playing two practice balls and being surly to the officials? Bobby Jones wrote a letter to his daddy telling him to have his kid learn some manners, and eventually Stranahan wrote a letter in which he pledged future good conduct at Augusta, and apparently held true to his word for the next 10 years or so that he played there. Golf is hard, but so is life. We expect certain standards of behavior from adults, and one of the widely acknowledged rules -- so widely acknowledged that we really shouldn't have to even have a discussion about it at all -- is that we're not allowed to have temper tantrums in public like spoiled 2-year-olds.

  19. Doc says:

    When you are the greatest golfer of your generation (or all-time) you are definitely under a microscope and because of the pedestal you are (and should be) held to a higher standard. It's a gentleman's game and he should act accordingly. Anger is natural but venting like that is unacceptable. Especially for someone who is a role model (like it or not.....see Charles Barkley). Just because you are the most competitive person in the world it doesn't give you a pass to act a fool. Frankly, his actions disappoint me and, because many want to forgive so quickly, make it a sad commentary on our society.

  20. Matt M says:

    Frankly, his actions disappoint me and, because many want to forgive so quickly, make it a sad commentary on our society.

    Let's be realistic its one club throwing incident, he didn't helicopter the club into the gallery he tossed it on the ground and it bounced, all be it a hard toss. There is a different and one shows a temper the other would have shown a complete disregard for everyone there watching. I ve already stated I think he should control his temper better and my bet is you won't see him do that again, but saying forgiving him for the one time offense show a black eye on society is taking it to far. What should we do ban him from all pro events. Do you hold yourself to a no mistake policy for everything you do?

  21. Doc says:

    Do you hold yourself to a no mistake policy for everything you do?

    We all make mistakes but when it comes to golf....I have never thrown a club and I do not curse on the course. I won't tolerate it from my children who play and, when I was a coach, I wouldn't tolerate it from my players. Inexcusable.

  22. Matt M says:

    We all make mistakes but when it comes to golf....I have never thrown a club and I do not curse on the course. I won't tolerate it from my children who play and, when I was a coach, I wouldn't tolerate it from my players. Inexcusable.

    Do you curse when you drive, or anything else? I think your standard is different than Most people. I don't tolerate my child throwing a club, but I can't say that some one dropping a curse word on the course is a big deal. I play with a Man of the Robe that has been known to drop an expletive on the course. Really swearing isn't and wasn't the issue here. I play golf with a lot of different people some people don't like a player slamming a club in the ground others don't mind. Different people tolerate different things. Endangering spectors was the issue lets not confuse it.

  23. kingfisher says:

    Tiger has a bit more fire in his belly than most other golfers and as a consequence shows his emotions more than almost all other players.

    In any sport, there are athletes who are mavericks, who have some questionable discipline, setting bad examples - yet these are the people we still pay money to watch. If you take away the fire, then you're left with an empty shell.

    Let's ask ourselves whether we'd rather watch a field full of Tigers or a field full of Lucas Glovers?

  24. pcsmith says:

    Mountain - please meet molehill. Molehill, please meet mountain.

    I've never been a big Tiger fan - I've seen him at Southern Hills and Torrey Pines US Opens, BUT this last week in Australia has changed my perspective entirely. So much so I went from Sydney to Melbourne on Saturday morning to get to see him play Kingston Heath - based entirely upon what he did when he got here (I was very fortunate to get tickets last minute).

    On the Sunday before he arrived 60 Minutes ran an interview with Tiger that was appalling. No insights, rubbish questions, worse responses. Horrible. And it vindicated my decision not to go to Melbourne.

    However, when he arrived it was though it was a different person. He was involved in a sponsor session that was by all accounts a fantastic time.

    The pre-tournament dinner (@ $600 a ticket) featured Tiger, Adam Scott, Geoff Ogilvy, Stuart Appleby and Rod Pampling among others and the interview with him was reported as funny, engaging and insightful. Much more than what is the usual Tiger media joust.

    The pro-am had footage of Tiger walking alongside one of his playing partners children chatting and laughing, the human side. And in front of 10,000+ fans (the Sunday round rarely features this many spectators!).

    His interviews with Ian Baker Finch & Brett Ogle that were televised were engaging and insightful - things rarely attributed to Tiger's media activity. His press conferences were also similar. There was none of the mono-syllabic stocatto answers generally given to Jimmy Roberts!

    He signed autographs for kids and was a wonderful ambassador for the game.

    And yes, his demeanour and behaviour suggested he wanted to be there. Some of the best courses in the world are in Melbourne - so why wouldnt the best golfer in the world want to be there?

    OK, he did slam his driver into the ground. Yes it did bounce out of his hands and spin across to the crowd (from close proximity). No, it was never going to cause any injury and he did seem genuinely embarrassed - whilst the crowd got a closer glimpse of him than they would have otherwise.

    I think the fee was earned and I would support the payment of the same again next year to get him back in 2010 at Victoria Golf Club (another classic sandbelt track) as lead up to 2011 Presidents Cup at Royal Melbourne (no superlatives required for this course!)

    He energized golf in this country. What more can you ask from the world #1?

  25. Tiger has a bit more fire in his belly than most other golfers and as a consequence shows his emotions more than almost all other players… Let's ask ourselves whether we'd rather watch a field full of Tigers or a field full of Lucas Glovers?

    I've enjoyed Tiger - the positive and negative displays of emotion - and have argued the same: that it shows how much he cares, etc.

    But again, as I said in the article, though I'm fine with "goddammit Tiger" and a fist pump, I'm not fine with throwing a club into the gallery (or in such a way that it bounces near or into the gallery). Everyone has their own line, and mine is drawn at "club careening into crowd." Tiger could slam it down on the ground, and while I wouldn't think it was the best behavior, I too would take it over the other robots on Tour. Slamming clubs isn't the same as flinging them.

    OK, he did slam his driver into the ground. Yes it did bounce out of his hands and spin across to the crowd (from close proximity). No, it was never going to cause any injury and he did seem genuinely embarrassed - whilst the crowd got a closer glimpse of him than they would have otherwise.

    I agree with everything you said up to this point. He threw it - it didn't "bounce out of his hands" - he threw the club. He didn't "slam" it into the ground, he threw it.

    I didn't consider myself a Tiger apologist before - I saw the same things everyone else saw and just didn't care about them enough to criticize him for cursing or slamming a club down or whatever - but this screams of Tiger apologism - you're denying the act itself. He "threw" the club, he didn't "slam" it only to have it "bounce out of his hands."

    I think he earned his fee and all of that - again, no disagreements. I've heard very positive things about Tiger's treatment of his pro-am partners, etc. Good for him. But that doesn't excuse him from the one act he's ever performed that crosses the line (IMHO). And despite crossing the line, I'm still giving him a pass because it's the second time he does something like this that I'll care. This was a mistake - but if he does it again it's a habit.

  26. pcsmith says:

    I agree with everything you said up to this point. He threw it - it didn't "bounce out of his hands" - he threw the club. He didn't "slam" it into the ground, he threw it.

    I didn't consider myself a Tiger apologist before - I saw the same things everyone else saw and just didn't care about them enough to criticize him for cursing or slamming a club down or whatever - but this screams of Tiger apologism - you're denying the act itself. He "threw" the club, he didn't "slam" it only to have it "bounce out of his hands.".

    Yes - good point. I wasn't intending to deny the act. On reflection that para may scream of apologism - I would never have imagined doing that for anyone other than an Aussie......

  27. Bigdr-88 says:

    I think the spectators should have been able to keep the club... go to the tour van and have them fix you another... It's like baseball, you hit a foul ball and it isn't coming back you lose a bat into the stands.. it isn't coming back. These same rules should have applied. Also, when this occurred wasn't he in the lead? C'mon man... (Tiger)

  28. Scott says:

    Verbal emotion is the more politically correct way to express yourself... hence the "rucus" created here becuase someone thought it inappropriate to throw a club. However, in reality there should be no distinction between the two. Physical and verbal emotion are just going to be present when dealing with haughty, concieted professionals.

    And please... drop the "someone could've been hurt" routine. I'm not condoning the incident, but he didn't throw a grenade...

    In my opinion, its just as bad to hear Tiger curse like a sailor as it is to see him throw a club into a crowd of spectators. Im not forgive my son when he lets out a string of obsenities, then chew his ass when he throws a club...??? You cant forgive one and not the other. Its par for the course with Tiger... his emotions are the one thing he will never conquer.

  29. caddie boy says:

    cmon all of you, if Tiger spoke to you, you would wet your pants. People need to watch out and assume these guys are going to throw clubs, they do it on public courses worldwide, why would it be any different for pga guys? They actually have money worth playing for.

  30. Sandy says:

    Sorry but this is a man that cares about the game. A man who's whole life has been devoted to the game. If you don't show emotion in anything that u do, you will not suceed. Believe me what tiger woods did there, hasn't crossed any line. There has been a lot worse. Don't pick on Tiger cause he stands out.

    And I think the audience liked the club going into the gallery. " I got to touch tiger woods' club" how good would that sound. Did he purposely throw it in the gallery, no so what does it matter.

  31. Ross Haslam says:

    Ha ha ha ha......
    Sorry, but you cant serious!! When I heard Tiger was coming I booked flights,accommodation, airport transfers etc etc and so did thousands of other golf fans over here. We were stoked that Tiger was on his way back to Oz. The whole thing was nothing less than an amazing success but all you guys want to do is analylize and criticise and nitpick 1 incident that received absolutely nil coverage over here.

    The entire event has been the best thing to happen to golf over here in years. It was a real event and Tiger did enjoy himself and he did relax and obviously become more human over here. If you're lucky maybe he will stay that way for a little while before you force him to become the Tiger we're used to seeing on TV.

  32. Andy says:

    Let's ask ourselves whether we'd rather watch a field full of Tigers or a field full of Lucas Glovers?

    Well...there is a way to be more engaging but not dull. I think golf would be pretty entertaining and way better to attend live if there were a field full of Phil Mickelsons. Phil shows emotion too but he is never a petulant ass about it.

  33. Mitch says:

    I think sometimes we forget Tiger was a child athlete with a father that daily drilled the mantra that nothing less then perfect results is acceptable IF Tiger wanted to be the best, try to wrap your head around the idea of spending thousands of hours with this as your motivation, is it like Andre Aggasi's now infamous father who was clearly abusive and callous, hardly, however, when you watch old footage of Earl instructing Tiger, you don't get a sense that Earl let Tiger be much of a kid, it's pretty much all business. I feel Tiger is hardwired to accept nothing less than perfection in his game, I actually will go a step further, I think Tiger knows this and sincerely wishes he can more like Phil DURING a match, he have all seen Tiger at golf exhibitions and he is a delight; relaxed, witty, caring a true ambassador of the game, I feel their is no other explanation for why he is so incredibly hard on himself. It's not like this 'mantra of perfection' just evaporates over the years it's firmly lodged in the sub-conscious and it will only go away if Tiger truly wants to move away from his fathers very large shadow.

  34. Robert Lawrence says:

    Again, I hate to weigh in again but I have to say there is no excuse for such behavior. Going back and psychoanalyzing Tiger's youth and how his father treated him may be interesting, but it does not excuse the bad behavior. Plenty of people had tough or even horrible parents and didn't turn into prima donnas. Look at Sean O'Hair -- is he throwing clubs around? Is he cursing a blue streak on the course?
    Answer: No. And look at the guys who came up from impoverished backgrounds and got their starts in the caddy yard -- Seve, Cabrera, to name a few -- do you see them acting out like this? Answer: No.

    The only reason Tiger is allowed by the PGA to act like this in our supposed "gentleman's game" is because he brings a boatload of sponsorship money and popularity to the tour. $$. That is the answer. It's a bad lesson for kids to learn, and smacks of all the lame self-empowerment of spoiled star athletes everywhere -- "I'm a star. The rules don't apply to me." And all these apologists running willy-nilly to explain his bad behavior by pointing out his upbringing, and the stress he is under, etcetera, entirely misses the point. Golf is supposed to be different. It's not about bad behavior, and bling, and seeing how far you can push the envelope of acceptable conduct. It's different. And traditionally it has been even more prickly and persnickety than many folks would like, with arcane rules of behavior that people aren't even aware of (see John Daly -- apparently standing around drunk outside a Hooters is a no-no which can subject you to suspension for 6 months).

    In golf, you call penalties on yourself. When you don't, you get fined or suspended by the Commissioner. Tiger, however, gets a bye from everyone, when he should be held to a stricter standard. If he's going to be the role model for kids everywhere -- and that's the rationale behind regulating athlete's behavior, right? -- then he's got to live up to the role, no matter how hard it is. He gets the fame, he gets the money, he gets all the upside, so he has to take the downside of all that as well. If lack of privacy means he has to be better than everyone else, that's rough, but that's how it works. That's what he signed up for. At least they have ropes holding back the crowds now, and don't let photogs take pictures during their swings, and a whole host of other helpful things the tour greats of yore did without. Really, I hate to say it, because I like Tiger, but he should be calling a penalty on himself here, not trying to come up with excuses. Just stop the tantrums. Just Say No, right?

  35. Golf lover says:

    The rules of already attempt to address this sort of behaviour but its reasonably ambigous as to the line being crossed but because its the goose that lays the golden eggs( lines their pockets of the sponsors and the tour) no one is willing to act.

    So it's really simple .. new All Tours rule.. equipment abuse 2 shot penalty stroke play , matchplay loss of hole . Second offence same tournament disqualification. What defines equipment abuse ..smashing clubs into the ground, chucking them forcefully into the ground or throwing them. (Same sort of approach as applies to his mate Federer in tennis.)
    Penalties applied on round completion by monitor of TV footage and referee and officials feedback. (Don't tell me it won't work as I've seen players harangued for potential rule infringments as a result of TV footage).

    As Woods is so motivated and geared up to win and be the best lets see how many clubs he chucks about then as its really going to hurt (both his ego, his wallet and ultimately his status).

    I've watched the greats of this game for years and they were never like this. Greg Norman was as hard a competitior as I've seen but he never carried on this way. It says it all that you have to go back to Bobby Jones to find a comparison for his behaviour!!!
    Before you all tell me this is hogwash I'm open to any other sensible suggestion as to how you get him to clean up his act as appealing to him as an ambassodor of the sport clearly isn't going anywhere.

  36. Ross Haslam says:

    "Objection you Honour, Hearsay!!"
    "Sustained!"
    Where do you get this stuff from?? This is priceless, how about we pass on the freudian psychoanaylses and look at the facts. He hit a bad drive, threw his club (without much force) into the ground where it unexpectedly sprung up towards the crowd and everyone made a mad scramble to grab it (including myself) and it ended up much further into the crowd than it otherwise would have. He walked up, the club was passed back and he apologised and kept on walking.

    Did anyone in the gallery complain?? Not from where I was standing, in fact we were all thrilled just to get a look at his driver. As far as injury risk, I'd much rather get hit by a slow moving driver than a golf ball hurtling through the air from an errant drive.

    End of story!!

  37. "Objection you Honour, Hearsay!!"

    It's not hearsay - saw it on TV live, saw the replays. I continue not caring if TW slams his club in the ground. When it leaves his hands and ends up in the gallery, I've got a problem.

    As they say, your right to wave your arms about ends at my nose. Or something like that… I'm just suggesting that Tiger's right to throw a temper tantrum ends where the gallery ropes begin.

    Not from where I was standing, in fact we were all thrilled just to get a look at his driver. As far as injury risk, I'd much rather get hit by a slow moving driver than a golf ball hurtling through the air from an errant drive.

    And I'd much rather avoid injury at the hands of a golfer - any golfer - period.

  38. Ross Haslam says:

    Sorry, you missed my point.

    That Tiger threw the club is the one and ONLY fact that is mentioned throughout this forum. All of the other amusing and irrelevant points (and there are plenty) relating to his upbringing, his drive for perfection, his special staus on the PGA etc etc is nothing but speculation ("hearsay your honour").

    I will speculate as well by saying I dont think he threw his club with the intention of it ending up in the gallery, although he was having problems with the driver going left!! Therefore I theorise it was probably an accident much the same as an errant drive hitting someone in the gallery, the only difference being that it was done in a manner that some people find contrary to the spirit of the game.

    Hey we all get angry on the course its the nature of the game. If some people find letting that anger out by tossing the odd club then good luck to them, whatever works for the individual. Its hard to look at Tigers record thus far and say that it has hampered his progress.

    So as a one off (I dont recall Tiger throwing a club into the gallery before) I think we cut him a bit of slack. If he starts hurling clubs into the crowd as a regular feature of his winning performances then Im figuring the galleries following his group may begin to drop in numbers and the problem will then by taken up by the PGA.

    PS. Love the site

  39. Golf lover says:

    Ross, he's already had all the slack! He's been criticised for his on course behaviour by Arnie. Tom Watson wrote to him about it . It was a disgrace at Turnberry. It's not isolated and the more he doesn't win the worse I think it will become.
    There are others who haven't been mentioned, Rory Sabbatini comes to mind. Also Montgomerie although in his case it's confined to downright nasty verbal attacks on anyone in range when things aren't going his way. The rules have to change to stop this behaviour.

    While Woods was out injured the game survived and frankly if he stopped playing tomorrow within a couple of months all the juniors who idolised him will have identified with a new hero of the game.
    The bottom line is this game is bigger than Tiger Woods and it deserves better from him.

  40. Ross Haslam says:

    What slack are you talking about? Are the rules of golf different for Tiger? Golf like many other sports has evolved into what it is today. The constant gripe of past players (in many sports) is how the game has changed for the worst and that it should change back for the good of the game. Funny how most of the criticism you talk about is from players of another generation when the world not just golf was a much different place. Funny too how these same people dont seem to mind the fact they can compete at a level today way beyond where the would have been able to without the technological advances of the last few years.

    If Tiger stopped playing tomorrow then golf would change and boy would those junior players you talk about feel the impact. Golf is huge business these days and the one player who drives it more than any other is Tiger Woods, you only have to look at TV ratings to see the impact this one player has on the game. Without the dollars rolling in the junior programs etc would disappear and too their interest in the game.

    Take the Australian Masters as a perfect example. name one other player in the world who could have attracted that much interest in a golf tournament? He is a once in a lifetime athlete (not just golfer) and we should appreciate the fact we are here to see him and will be able to tell our grandkids about it rather than nitpick and criticise his behaviour based upon our own personal standards.

  41. Scott says:

    Erik, how exactly can you excuse Tiger using God's name in vain...? Yet, throwing a club merits a forum discussion about crossing the line? You cant forgive one and not the other.

    The problem people have with this article is not that you are wrong in your analysis of Tiger's tantrums, its that you think this incident is "the straw that broke the camels back." It's laughable that you've "just now" been appalled by Tiger's fits.

  42. Erik, how exactly can you excuse Tiger using God's name in vain...? Yet, throwing a club merits a forum discussion about crossing the line? You cant forgive one and not the other.

    Sure you can. I just proved it.

    I don't get your point. Do you honestly believe everyone cares about "using God's name in vain"?

    It's laughable that you've "just now" been appalled by Tiger's fits.

    Only if you apply your bizarre scale where saying something is as reprehensible as a piece of metal and graphite hurtling into a crowd of people, Scott. Only then is it "laughable."

    I'm not the only one who feels this way. Scroll up or read through other posts on the Internet and you'll find plenty of others.

  43. Luke says:

    He's doing nothing but hurting the greatest sport in the world with his actions. I understand that he might be the greatest player to ever play. I understand that literally nothing is ever good enough for him. But there is absolutely no excuse for throwing a club into the crowd.

  44. Bob says:

    He is arrogant and his behavior reminds me of some 13-14 year old children. Cussing is not okay and if it occurs he (and others) should be fined and at the end of the year the thousands should go to a worthwhile charity.

  45. golfnut says:

    tiger is a legend and leave him alone .. his frustration just shows his high level of standard he sets, i think everyone is just jelous because his so good!

  46. Phil says:

    If I threw a golf club into a crowd at a city park, I'd get a disorderly conduct citation. If the club hurt anyone, that could mean assault charges. C'mon Tool, get your act and life together.

    Happy Thanksgiving, Tiger! At least you didn't screw my wife.

  47. Par - Man says:

    Tiger's acts like a baby on the golf course and then moonlights as a manther...I used to be a fan, but not anymore.

  48. tomahawktim says:

    Mr. Woods was very fortunate that no one received as much as a bruise or nick from the thrown club.
    Could you imagine the repercussions if he gave some child a fat lip, bloddy nose or black eye?

    As with all of us, that type of behaviour is symptomatic of some other underlying problem in one's life.

  49. olddog says:

    In light of the recent events in his life with his wife it is no wonder people are getting fed up with him. I lused tolook at him as a black that made it big. Now i think of him as just another n*##$r with his pecker hanging out all the time. I hoe this episode ruins his golf for him, as mabey he will look to what ruined his life with a loving and beautiful trophy wife.

  50. Old Tom says:

    Tiger is not the first pro to throw a club by any means. IMO anyone catching Tiger's thrown club has a right to keep it! Tiger and other pros can earn greater popularity on tour by picking out the least successful club in their bag and throwing it to the spectators. They weed out their bad clubs, to the benefit of some lucky bloke!

  51. Eric M. says:

    Throwing clubs during a competition is an embarrassment to the game. There is no place for it. As golfers, we all get frustrated, and angry. Taking that out on equipment is pointless and foolish. As to some of the earlier comments, I think the person who suggested Tiger's predilection for club tossing indicates a "fire in the belly", I think that sentiment is asinine. Does that mean Woody Austin wants it more than Tiger, since he once bent his putter over his head during a PGA event? Give me a break. First offense, penalize the player 2 strokes. Second offense, DQ. That would solve the problem immediately.

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