LONDON — It's bad enough when a golfer has to worry about somebody else leaving careless cleat marks on a green that could send a putt awry, but it's even worse to have to worry about too much moisture. And we're not talking just a heavy dew or even a surprising downpour.
|European Tour officials fined Tiger Woods after reviewing TV footage. (Getty)
Rather, the issue at hand, and on the green, is a glob of spit, which some might consider as big — or bigger — of a breach of golfing protocol as putting out of turn or improving one's lie in the rough. Come to think of it, a golfer who needs to let loose some phlegm might be better advised to do so over in the rough. Behind a tree. Out of harm's way.
Imagine the surprise of European Tour officials who found, after reviewing TV footage of the Dubai Desert Classic, that Tiger Woods, the world's former No. 1 golfer who now languishes at the No. 3 spot, several times during the final round — including unloading a loogie on the 12th green.
Perhaps spitting was an effort to wash away the 15-month win drought Woods is experiencing, aggravated by the fact that he shot a three-over-par 75 to finish seven strokes behind winner Alvaro Quiros of Spain at Dubai.
Woods expressed remorse via Twitter today, tweeting:"It was inconsiderate to spit like that and I know better. Just wasn't thinking and want to say I'm sorry."
Fellow golfers say he should be.
Former tour professional Ewen Murray, now a commentator with Sky, voiced his displeasure with the world number three.
"You look at his work ethics and he is a credit to the game and an inspiration to all of those who are trying to become professional golfers but there are some parts of him that are just arrogant and petulant," Reuters quoted the Briton as saying.
"Somebody now has to come behind him and maybe putt over his spit (on the 12th green). It does not get much lower than that," Murray said.
Murray's Sky colleague Robert Lee, who is on the European Tour's board of directors, he was equalled appalled at Woods's behavior in Dubai.
"Could you imagine Jack Nicklaus looking down at a four or five-foot putt and then turning to the side and (spitting)? It would never happen," said Lee, a former tour professional.
"It's a lack of class, appalling. It won't be his legacy, his legacy will be that he has won 14 majors and . . . if he is not the best golfer who ever lived, he is very close to it.
"But he should also be mindful of where he is in world golf and what youngsters think of him because whether he likes it or not, he's a role model."
Lee said he could never imagine past golfing greats spitting on the course.
"I keep looking at that vision of him squatting down at the 12th green . . . could I ever see Nicklaus, Tom Watson, Bobby Jones, Ben Hogan, any of those legends doing something like that? The answer is 'no'," said the Briton.
"He needs to have a bit more class about him and think about what he is doing."
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