February 16, 2011

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Spitting Tiger

By: Stephen Arnold

2011 is off to an inauspicious start for golf superstar Tiger Woods. Following a messy year of trysts, tabloids and the destruction of both his family life and golf game, Tiger entered this season with a lot to prove. Prior to his first round of 2011 two weeks ago at the Farmers Insurance Open, a calm Tiger spoke of his priorities: his children and golf. Unfortunately, Tiger quickly faded out of contention and finished a distant 44th, bringing his new swing coach, Sean Foley, into the line of fire.

This past weekend, in his second event of the year, Tiger stalked the Dubai leader board for three rounds and appeared to be the Tiger of old. He entered the final day just a stroke off the lead. However, Tiger’s chance to end a year-long losing streak quickly disappeared as he bogeyed two of the first three holes before finishing 20th.

Normally, Tiger’s inability to secure a victory would be the talk of the golf world. However, a bizarre incident on Sunday stole much of the attention. While lining up a putt on the 12th green, Tiger Woods turned his head and spit as if hundreds weren’t gathered around and millions weren’t watching at home. It took everyone by surprise, including the commentators. In the end, the European Tour had the last word, fining Tiger Woods an undisclosed amount for his odd behavior.

For years, golf fans have marveled at more than merely Tiger’s putting, ball striking and will to win. Most players and commentators agree that Tiger Woods is the best all-around athlete on the PGA Tour. When his dad, Earl, once stated that Tiger could’ve been a track star, nobody blinked. But Earl never mentioned baseball.

Baseball players are the king of chew, dip, gum and the spit. And while the Yankees would probably give him a long look in center field, on Sunday, Tiger Woods apparently forgot that he’s a golfer. And the best golfer in the world doesn’t spit. Right, Lee Westwood?

A word of caution:  that best golfer comment could leave Tiger spitting mad.

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