Being Tiger Woods means never having to say you’re sorry -- in any real sense of the word.
Woods issued the professional athlete’s version of a mea culpa on Saturday when he said he meant no offense “but ...” by drop-kicking his 9-iron during the second round of the Masters.
“I apologize if I offend anybody by that, but I’ve hit some bad shots,” Woods told reporters about letting the frustration with his poor play boil over on the 16th hole on Friday. “It’s certainly frustrating at times not to hit the ball where you need to hit it.”
By now, the world knows that a struggling Woods followed an errant 4-iron on the 15th with an off-target tee shot on the par-3 16th. The ball had barely left the 9-iron when Woods dropped the offending club and attempted to split the uprights with it.
Such behavior had the Twitter-verse up in arms, and, no doubt, the powers-that-be will likely lighten his wallet a tad for his churlish actions. Should Woods become a no-show in some upcoming events, the PGA Tour, which maintains radio silence about any type of discipline, could conceivably suspend him as well for “conduct unbecoming a professional.”
While the Associated Press’ Doug Ferguson reported that no officials had taken Woods to task for his outburst, the golfer was well aware that his behavior had not gone unnoticed. Still, his “apology” sounded more like a rationale for this man behaving badly.
“I certainly heard that people didn’t like me kicking the club,” he said. “But I didn’t like it, either. I hit it right in the bunker. Didn’t feel good on my toe, either.”
Since his sex scandal went viral in late 2009, Woods has made public pronouncements of atoning for his offenses something of a cottage industry (see his choreographed, no-questions-asked repentance from February 2010). Indeed, if you look up “Woods apologizes” on Google, you’ll get more than nine million results.
Whether he has meant any of them, only he knows for sure. In any case, we’ll see if clearing the air has any impact on Woods’ golf game, which seemed to be on the fast track back to pre-Thanksgiving 2009 form, but has completely deserted him this week at Augusta National. He’ll start the final round at 3-over --12 shots back of leader Peter Hanson and 11 shy of arch-rival Phil Mickelson.
In a tie for 38th to start Masters Sunday, Woods could end up with his lowest finish in a Masters since he turned professional. He tied for 22nd in 2004.