Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Way to Go, Tiger!

I love golf. But I bet you already knew that. One reason I love it so much is that it is a game of honor. What other sport or game do you know of where players will call penalties on themselves? A golfer addresses the ball and it moves. No one sees it move but the golfer. He calls an official over and tells him what happened -- and receives a 1-stroke penalty.

Another example of the greatness of golf happened Sunday -- although Tiger-bashers may not see it as that. Tiger was paired with Padraig Harrington in the final group on Sunday. As they came to the 16th hole, they were informed that because they were not keeping up with the group ahead of them -- they were being "put on the clock." A 2nd warning can result in a penalty.

Now think of the sense of this. Admittedly, Harrington is a SLOW player. I tire of waiting for him to get into a shot. But on Sunday, probably 75% of the gallery is following these two guys. Every hole, they are having to wade through people. Before each shot, they have to wait as the crowd gets into place. And yet, they are still on pace to finish in about 4 hours. Not a "slow" pace of play.

Besides that, they are in a head-to-head battle for the championship. No one else is really even in the hunt.

So as they arrived at 16, Harrington had a one-stroke lead over Tiger. And that is when the official informed him that they were timing his shots. He immediately hit his tee shot deep into the rough to the right -- but Tiger followed by hitting his shot deep into the left rough. The 2nd shot was Harrington's big mistake, as he tried to punch out into the fairway. He hit the ball through the fairway into the rough on the left side, leaving a difficult lie. Tiger punched out into the fairway, and then followed that with a highlight-reel shot -- a 182-yard 8 IRON to inside a foot. Harrington continued his meltdown from there -- finishing the hole with an 8. Tiger carded a 4 -- and went on to win the tournament by 4 shots.

So who took the officials to task after the round? Tiger. He said what happened on hole 16 was uncalled for, and it was especially unfair to Harrington. And guess what happened yesterday? Tiger was fined -- not for throwing a fit in his own defense. He was fined for speaking up FOR THE GUY HE WAS PLAYING AGAINST!

Now, Tiger Woods can afford whatever fine he was given. But I just tell that story to say that you won't find that kind of class in most any other sport. Please, I am not saying this to knock baseball, football, basketball, or whatever. I am just saying that golf is unique. And to me, that is part of its allure.


Anonymous said...

I would like the see the official offer an apology to the players.

Rick Ross said...


I would too, but let's not hold our breath on that one. I know the official was just doing his job, but the timing was the worst. And again, what difference did it make? Harrington wasn't slowing up anyone.

Anonymous said...

Tiger says now that he is, in fact, NOT going to be fined. He said it was a rumor and poor reporting.