The highest standard for Woods is his words

By Doug FergusonFebruary 16, 2011, 4:27 am

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – It’s hard enough for Tiger Woods to live up to the standards he set with a golf club in his hand.

It’s proving even tougher to live up to his own words.

Saturday marks the one-year anniversary of his speech at Sawgrass, his first public comments since Woods was exposed for cheating on his wife. What seems to be getting a lot of attention now are 15 words from that 13 1/2 -minute statement.

“When I do return, I need to make my behavior more respectful of the game.”

His behavior was lacking in Dubai.

A British television commentator certainly thought so when he saw Woods, who was making a mess of the 12th hole in the final round, squat to read a putt and then turn his head to the side and spit on the green.

“You look at his work ethic and he’s a credit to the game, an inspiration to all of those who are trying to become professional golfers,” said Ewen Murray of Sky Sports. “But some parts of him are just arrogant and petulant. Somebody now has to come onto this green behind him and maybe putt over his spit. It doesn’t get much lower than that.”

Actually, it does get slightly lower when it comes to expectorations.

Imagine being in the group behind Sergio Garcia when he bent over and dropped a loogie into the cup after missing a short putt on the 13th hole at Doral in 2007.

Video of Woods spitting already was going viral on the internet Monday when the European Tour said he will be fined an undisclosed sum for breaching the tour code of conduct.

This was not his first fine.

This was not the first time he’s spit.

And this was not the first time, certainly not lately, that Woods had a chance to win a tournament only to blow up in the final round.

From the time Woods returned to golf last year at the Masters, there was a feeling in some quarters that when – or if – he got back to winning tournaments, all would be forgotten, if not forgiven.

That remains to be seen.

Woods now has gone 15 months and 17 tournaments without winning. He doesn’t appear to be particularly close, either. In his last three tournaments – two of them with a chance to win – Woods has closed with rounds of 73, 73 and 75. It’s the first time since 1997 that he was over par in the final round of three straight tournaments.

With his game in disarray, that puts even more scrutiny on his behavior.

Woods has been spitting as long as he has been wearing a red shirt on Sunday, usually after a bad shot or a missed putt. And while it’s true that Steve Marino was spitting at Pebble Beach in the final round, Steve Marino is not Tiger Woods. It might be a double standard, but such is the cost of celebrity.

Woods is known to slam his clubs after a poor shot, and one time his driver bounced into the gallery in Australia. Swearing is second nature. There have been times when he yelled out “Fore!” to keep him from shouting another word that starts with the same letter.

That probably will never change.

And that’s the problem. Because he said it would.

“When I do return, I need to make my behavior more respectful of the game.”

For all the outrage expressed by the British media, it was peculiar that no one asked him about the famous glob after his round Sunday. Woods apologized a day later on Twitter: “The Euro Tour is right – it was inconsiderate to spit like that and I know better. Just wasn’t thinking and want to say I’m sorry.”

The British golf media used to refer to Woods as “the great man” when he was racking up majors. It was easier to overlook his behavior when he flashed that smile while posing with a trophy. Now, he is vulnerable to criticism as never before.

There was Augusta National chairman Billy Payne and his scathing criticism of Woods on the day before last year’s Masters.

“But certainly, his future will never again be measured only by his performance against par; but measured by the sincerity of his efforts to change,” Payne said.

The day after the Masters, CBS Sports announcer Jim Nantz went on a New York radio show and torched Woods for his language.

“Tiger’s not the only guy who’s got a camera in his face all day long,” Nantz said. “But he is the only one in the field who said he wasn’t going to do that any more.”

During his press conference at that Masters, Woods said he would try to curtail his temper on the golf course, but warned that also would mean toning down his celebrations. Then again, there hasn’t been a lot to celebrate lately.

Even so, did anyone really think he would change?

Whatever flaws he had as a person were easier to overlook when his golf occupied so much of the conversation. Woods is not the only player known for his emotional outbursts, nor is he the only player who spits.

No other player is under such scrutiny, though. Woods ought to know this and expect this by now. If he says he is going to change and be respectful, he has to know that people will be paying attention.

For Woods, that might be a lone positive to take out of this. At least people are still interested in watching him.

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Suspended Hensby offers details on missed drug test

By Will GrayDecember 12, 2017, 11:30 pm

One day after receiving a one-year suspension from the PGA Tour for failing to provide a sample for a drug test, Mark Hensby offered details on the events that led to his missed test in October.

Hensby, 46, released a statement explaining that the test in question came after the opening round of the Sanderson Farms Championship, where the Aussie opened with a 78. Frustrated about his play, Hensby said he was prepared to give a blood sample but was then informed that the test would be urine, not blood.

"I had just urinated on the eighth hole, my 17th hole that day, and knew that I was probably unable to complete the urine test for at least a couple more hours," Hensby said. "I told this gentleman that I would complete the test in the morning prior to my early morning tee time. Another gentleman nearby told me that 'they have no authority to require me to stay.' Thus, I left."

Hensby explained that he subsequently received multiple calls and texts from PGA Tour officials inquiring as to why he left without providing a sample and requesting that he return to the course.

"I showed poor judgment in not responding," said Hensby, who was subsequently disqualified from the tournament.

Hensby won the 2004 John Deere Classic, but he has missed six cuts in seven PGA Tour starts over the last two years. He will not be eligible to return to the Tour until Oct. 26, 2018.

"Again, I made a terrible decision to not stay around that evening to take the urine test," Hensby said. "Obviously in hindsight I should have been more patient, more rational and taken the test. Call me stupid, but don't call me a cheater. I love the game. I love the integrity that it represents, and I would never compromise the values and qualities that the game deserves."

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Day's wife shares emotional story of miscarriage

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 4:12 pm

Jason Day’s wife revealed on social media that the couple had a miscarriage last month.

Ellie Day, who announced her pregnancy on Nov. 4, posted an emotional note on Instagram that she lost the baby on Thanksgiving.

“I found out the baby had no heartbeat anymore. I was devastated,” she wrote. “I snuck out the back door of my doctor, a hot, sobbing, mascara-covered mess. Two and a half weeks went by witih me battling my heart and brain about what was happening in my body, wondering why this wouldn’t just be over.”

The Days, who have two children, Dash and Lucy, decided to go public to help others who have suffered similar heartbreak.

“I hope you know you aren’t alone and I hope you feel God wrap his arms around you when you feel the depths of sorrow and loss,” she wrote.  

Newsmaker of the Year: No. 5, Sergio Garcia

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 1:00 pm

This was the year it finally happened for Sergio Garcia.

The one-time teen phenom, known for years as “El Nino,” entered the Masters as he had dozens of majors beforehand – shouldered with the burden of being the best player without a major.

Garcia was 0-for-72 driving down Magnolia Lane in April, but after a thrilling final round and sudden-death victory over Justin Rose, the Spaniard at long last captured his elusive first major title.

The expectation for years was that Garcia might land his white whale on a British links course, or perhaps at a U.S. Open where his elite ball-striking might shine. Instead it was on the storied back nine at Augusta National that he came alive, chasing down Rose thanks in part to a memorable approach on No. 15 that hit the pin and led to an eagle.


Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year


A green jacket was only the start of a transformative year for Garcia, 37, who heaped credit for his win on his then-fiancee, Angela Akins. The two were married in July, and months later the couple announced that they were expecting their first child to arrive just ahead of Garcia’s return to Augusta, where he'll host his first champions’ dinner.

And while players often cling to the notion that a major win won’t intrinsically change them, there was a noticeable difference in Garcia over the summer months. The weight of expectation, conscious or otherwise, seemed to lift almost instantly. Like other recent Masters champs, he took the green jacket on a worldwide tour, with stops at Wimbledon and a soccer match between Real Madrid and Barcelona.

The player who burst onto the scene as a baby-faced upstart is now a grizzled veteran with nearly two decades of pro golf behind him. While the changes this year occurred both on and off the course, 2017 will always be remembered as the year when Garcia finally, improbably, earned the title of major champion.


Masters victory


Article: Garcia defeats Rose to win Masters playoff

Article: Finally at peace: Garcia makes major breakthrough

Article: Garcia redeems career, creates new narrative


Video: See the putt that made Sergio a major champ


Green jacket tour

Article: Take a look at Sergio's crazy, hectic media tour

Article: Garcia with fiancée, green jacket at Wimbledon

Article: Watch: Garcia kicks off El Clasico in green jacket


Man of the people


Article: SERGIO! Garcia finally gets patrons on his side

Article: Fan finally caddies for Sergio after asking 206 times

Article: Sergio donates money for Texas flood relief


Article: Connelly, Garcia paired years after photo together


Ace at 17th at Sawgrass


Growing family

Article: Sergio, Angela get married; Kenny G plays reception

Article: Garcia, wife expecting first child in March 2018


Departure from TaylorMade


Article: Masters champ Garcia splits with TaylorMade


Squashed beef with Paddy

Article: Harrington: Garcia was a 'sore loser'

Article: Sergio, Padraig had 'great talk,' are 'fine'


Victory at Valderrama


Article: Garcia gets first win since Masters at Valderrama

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Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 12:30 pm