OLIVER HOLT: Tiger Woods still wears the air of a man endlessly amazed by his own stupidity

Perhaps it is an inevitable consequence of his fame, his achievements and the slander that surrounds him in the sport he plays, but even now, even after so many painful and self-inflicted injuries, Tiger Woods still wears the air of a man who is endlessly amazed by the aftermath of his own stupidity. For most of the rest of us, the surprise had long since worn off.

Woods’ final lesson in real-world consequences that exist outside his strange bubble is this: if you think it’s hilarious to tampon your best friend as you walk off the ninth tee in a tournament because he didn’t drive the ball up there, and you’re doing it in front of the television cameras, you’ll spark a new round of debate about persistent misogynistic attitudes towards women’s sport.

Woods opted to indulge in that little jape last week as he and two-time winner Justin Thomas headed for the turn at the Genesis Invitational in Los Angeles, Woods’ first competitive PGA Tour event since missing the cut at The Open in July and a tournament. which was supposed to be the stage for a feel-good Woods story, another step in his comeback from the car crash two years ago that left him with serious leg injuries.

If you’ve forgotten the details of that accident, by the way, it happened when Woods was driving up to 87 mph in a 45 mph zone on Hawthorne Boulevard in Palos Verdes, California, lost control of his car, crossed the center detention, drove into the opposite lanes and crashed into a tree.

Luckily he survived. Fortunately, he has recovered enough from his injuries to be able to walk again and play golf competitively again. He wasn’t charged with any driving violations, but it’s important to remember that if someone had been coming the other way on Hawthorne Avenue that morning, he could have easily been killed. No one, including Woods, ever talks about it.

Tiger Woods (left) causes a stir by giving Justin Thomas a tampon at the Genesis Invitational

Tiger Woods (left) causes a stir by giving Justin Thomas a tampon at the Genesis Invitational

Woods continues to seem surprised by the effects of his own stupidity

Woods continues to seem surprised by the effects of his own stupidity

Woods is now 47, which is a little old to be acting like a teenage teenager, whether behind the wheel or on the golf course, owning a tampon for his own amusement. But then taking responsibility for his actions is not something he has ever embraced.

“This is Tiger,” Michael Johnson, the great Olympian, tweeted last week. “He’s never been a leader and he’s Teflon. It’s still heralded after all the mistakes, so it hasn’t learned anything. The media always focuses on the miraculous recovery. Never because the need for recovery.’

Johnson is absolutely right, of course. Golf is addicted to Woods. She still needs him. He can’t let him go, especially now that he’s arming him and Rory McIlroy in the battle against the Saudi-backed breakaway LIV and using him as one of the central figures in a fight derided as good versus evil, especially now, as Woods’ annual obsession with tilting at the US Masters in April begins to gather speed.

Woods issued a classic unapologetic apology after the “joke” he played on Thomas. He said it was just kids playing pranks, like kids do.

“We play pranks on each other all the time,” she said, though she didn’t say whether the pranks always involved feminine hygiene products and whether they always equated women with inferiority.

By then, the damage was done anyway. Anyone who objected to Woods’ “joke,” anyone who pointed out that he was demeaning women’s sports, anyone who pointed out that he was pathetic with efforts to make sports more accessible to women and remove the taboo of talking about the effects of women’s sports. periods about athletic performance, he was accused of lacking a sense of humor.

Mostly, of course, this meant men telling women what they should find funny.

Christine Brennan, n USA Today The columnist wrote a typically nice piece accusing Woods of using “basic misogyny to insult his good friend Thomas, a knee-jerk dig at athletes: You hit the ball like a girl!”. She was rewarded with a stream of abusive responses from offended men.

“Do no wrong holding those pearls, Karen,” read one. “I hope other golfers do it again too, just for you honey,” was another. “Sounds like it’s that time of the month for Christine,” was another.

Brennan doesn’t need anyone to defend her, by the way. He tends to ignore Neanderthals. However, the responses were instructive. Woods’ idea of ​​a joke, and the fact that so many came to his support, suggests that golf still has a big problem with women.

Golf is addicted to Woods and we are close to his annual obsession with winning the Masters

Golf is addicted to Woods and we are close to his annual obsession with winning the Masters

Woods joke suggests golf is behind the curve and has a long way to go with attitudes toward women

Murray (pictured) spoke at a press conference in 2017 to talk about the achievements of women in tennis

Compare Woods (left) with Andy Murray (right), an outspoken athlete about women in sports

Compare Woods’ attitude to, say, Andy Murray’s in tennis. Remember the time at Wimbledon in 2017 when a reporter asked him a question at a press conference. “Andy,” was the question, “Sam Querrey is the first American player to reach the semi-finals of a Slam since 2009.” Murray interrupted. “A male player,” Murray pointed out. It was an important symbolic moment for the sport.

Golf is not without equals. Justin Rose and his wife Kate are champions of the women’s game in this country.

After launching the Rose Ladies Series during the pandemic, they have expanded their support of women’s golf with the launch of the Rose Ladies Open on the Women’s European Tour’s Access Series. And the sport, in general, is desperately trying to modernize attitudes.

The last thing he needed was Tiger and Tampon. The last thing he needed was the man many consider the greatest golfer in the world, a man who needs golf as an ambassador as his playing career winds down, disdaining the women’s sport.

We are addicted to him, all of us, because he is one of the greatest athletes of his generation, because he is box office, because he is a genius, because he has won 15 Major. But his idea of ​​a joke was a reminder that he lives a double life, as golf’s biggest asset and biggest embarrassment.


I understand the rules and I understand that it is too late to change them, but it is not right that Newcastle goalkeeper Nick Pope should miss the Carabao Cup final against Manchester United on Sunday.

Pope was rightly sent off against Liverpool on Saturday night for a deliberate handball that denied a clear goalscoring opportunity, but the punishment does not fit the crime.

Pope made his error of judgment in a league game, so all logic suggests he should serve his one-match ban in Newcastle’s next league game, away to Manchester City on March 4. That would be fair and proportionate. But the rules for a red card mean he has to miss the final, which would be the biggest match of his life.

It’s the law, but in this case, the law is an ass.

Nick Pope's punishment for his red card against Liverpool on Saturday does not fit the crime

Nick Pope’s punishment for his red card against Liverpool on Saturday does not fit the crime


I know it’s a cliché, but when I was a kid in the 1970s, my grandmother loved to watch wrestling on TV and so, on Saturday afternoons, even though I sneaked my way to the Grandstand, World of Sport was the order of the day. home. This meant time in the company of Mick McManus, whom my grandmother loathed with all her soul, Kendo Nagasaki, the Giant Haystacks and, of course, World of Sport presenter Dickie Davies.

I loved the Davies almost as much as I loved David Coleman because they were the faces and voices of sport in my childhood.

Jim Rosenthal, another of the greats who presented, broke the news that Davies had passed away at the weekend, but it will always stick in my mind whenever I think of the Saturday afternoons lost to sports in the front room at 7 Heyes Lane.

Dickie Davies was best known for presenting the hit ITV sports show - World of Sport

Dickie Davies was best known for presenting the hit ITV sports show – World of Sport


Another failure of my sense of humour: there was much amusement last week when Bolton Wanderers announced a new five-year stadium naming rights deal with local recyclable building products manufacturer Toughsheet.

Starting in July, the stadium will be known as Toughsheet Community Stadium.

Sorry to be mean but deals like this make a proud old club like Bolton laughable.

They bring cash to the club but cheapen its heritage. Laugh if you want, but it’s just another sign of the desperate times facing lower league clubs.

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