— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) May 19, 2013
Tiger Woods & Lindsey Vonn — The TOPLESS Boat Party tmz.me/18LACT6
— TMZ (@TMZ) May 15, 2013
The Golf Blog says: Yahoo! Sports has sunk to a new low by insinuating that Tiger Woods cheated during the final round of his victory at the Players Championship. On its home page, Yahoo! has a headline “Tiger Woods’s controversial move,” with the byline: “Questions bubble up about whether the golfer cheated en route to a win at the Players Championship.”
While it’s true Johnny Miller and other commentators questioned whether Tiger Woods’ drop on the 14th hole was “borderline” (because it may have been too far ahead instead of where the ball crossed the lateral hazard), neither Miller nor any of the TV announcers suggested that Tiger was cheating, which implies a knowing or intentional act of dishonesty. Yahoo! Sports’ headline, however, suggests just that by insinuating “questions … about whether the golfer [Tiger Woods] cheated en route to a win at the Players Championship.”
The C-word is a pretty strong word. And before Yahoo! Sports sticks it in a headline about Tiger Woods, it sure better have evidence and the facts to back it up. But the facts indicate otherwise: Casey Wittenberg, Tiger’s playing partner, and Wittenberg’s caddy were the ones who helped Tiger determine where the ball crossed the water. In fact, it appeared that Tiger Woods looked away after being disgusted by mis-hitting his drive so badly. So Tiger may have had to rely on his playing partner to help determine the spot where the ball crossed the water, to the best of their abilities. Wittenberg was adamant that he identified the right spot when questioned after the round.
As the PGA Tour explained afterwards, in that scenario, the player is not held responsible if it turns out that his best judgment on where the ball crossed the water turned out to be wrong. The rule makes perfect sense because the golfer cannot be expected to be 100% perfect in assessing where a ball–perhaps 200 yards away–has crossed the water. The players don’t have access to instant replay. They have one chance of trying to spot the ball, which may be sailing a couple hundred yards away. In that instant, it would not be surprising if the players’ view is not 100% perfect with scientific precision. We haven’t seen enough camera angles of Tiger’s drive to be sure if his drop was exactly where the ball crossed the water or not (here’s one view and there’s also an aerial view from the blimp). Nor did the PGA Tour have any better view to second guess Tiger’s drop. Here’s the PGA Tour’s ruling:
“Without definitive evidence, the point where Woods’ ball last crossed the lateral water hazard is determined through best judgment by Woods and his fellow competitor,” the statement read. “If that point later proves to be a wrong point (through television or other means), the player is not penalized by Rule 26-1 given the fact that a competitor would risk incurring a penalty every time he makes an honest judgment as to the point where his ball last crosses a water-hazard margin and that judgment subsequently proves incorrect (Decision 26-1/17).”
Yahoo! Sports owes Tiger Woods an apology and an immediate retraction of this headline.
UPDATE: At some point during the night, Yahoo! Sports must have removed the headline and the entire story from its home page and inserted a new headline into the blog post, which remains accessible. It now reads: “Spot check: Another Tiger drop stirs controversy. Broadcasters seemed to change their story and video suggests Woods was off the mark on Sunday’s drop.” Notice the C-word has been removed. The blog post remains the same and has this catty reference: “On the course, Woods has never had a reputation as a cheater.”
The retraction of the headline is a start. Now we need an apology.
— thegolfblog (@thegolfblog) May 13, 2013
The Golf Blog says: Tiger Woods won his second Players Championship, a dozen years after his first. He hit his ball into the water on the 14th hole (ending up with a double bogey), which let everyone back into the tourney. After that, he and Sergio Garcia battled shot for shot, and were tied at -13 going down the last 2 holes. Until Sergio got to the 17th hole, where Sergio hit one of the best shots of his career to win the 2008 Players in a playoff with Paul Goydos with the same (far right) pin location. This time, things were different. Far different. Sergio dunked his 1st wedge shot into the water (not even touching land). Afterwards, Sergio teed off again from the tee (instead of the drop area because of the bad angle to the far right pin location) and then dunked another one into the water on 17, this time hitting the embankment but bouncing backing into the water. Sergio then hit his fifth shot safely onto the left side of the green and ended up with a quadruple bogey (7). Sergio then his hit drive on 18 into the water and double bogeyed to drop 6 shots in 2 holes. It was a train wreck. Sergio became unhinged.
Only David Lingmerth had a chance to catch Tiger Woods, but Lingmerth missed an 8 foot birdie putt on 17 and bogeyed 18. Tiger wins!
Afterwards, Tiger said, “I am getting better.” It’s the earliest Tiger has reached 4 wins in 1 season.
Uh.. Wow. RT @jposnanski Tiger now closes out 93% of 54-hole leads. Best ever free-throw pct: 90%. Best save pct. 89%. Best FG pct. 89%.
— Stina Sternberg (@StinaSternberg) May 13, 2013
Lindsey Vonn watching Tiger on Sunday at the Players … twitter.com/si_golf/status…
— Golf.com (@si_golf) May 12, 2013
The Golf Blog says: During the rain delay at the Players Championship during the third round and following the rain suspended round, Sergio Garcia and Tiger Woods got into a minor cat fight about crowd noise around Tiger Woods while Sergio Garcia was hitting his second shot on the second hole.
Sergio Garcia: “Well, obviously, Tiger was on the left, and it was my shot to hit. He moved all the crowd that he needed to move. I waited for that. I wouldn’t say that he didn’t see that I was ready, but you do have a feel when the other guy is going to hit, and right as I was in the top of my backswing, I think he must have pulled like a 5-wood or a 3-wood and obviously everybody started screaming. So that didn’t help very much. But it was unfortunate because — I mean I might have hit it in there if nothing happens. You never know. But if I hit a good shot there and maybe make a birdie, it gets my day started in a bit of a different way.”
Tiger Woods: “Obviously, he doesn’t know all the facts. The marshals told me he had already hit. I pulled the club and played my shot. Then I hear his comments afterward. Not really surprising that he’s complaining about something.”
Garcia replied: “That’s fine. At least I’m true to myself. I know what I’m doing, and he can do whatever he wants.”
The Golf Blog says: Sergio Garcia and Tiger Woods have both won the Players Championship once. Today, they play together in the final pairing with Garcia leading by one shot at -11. Lee Westwood, Henrik Stenson, and Kevin Chappell are tied for 3rd at -9.