Tiger fined for spitting on green
Tiger Woods' 12th-green expectoration triggered a television commentator's excoriation during Sunday's final round of the Dubai Desert Classic. The European Tour added its indignation Monday, fining Woods an undisclosed amount.
By midday, Woods posted an apology on Twitter: "The Euro Tour is right - it was inconsiderate to spit like that and I know better. Just wasn't thinking and want to say I'm sorry."
While golf followers could recall past incidents of players' spitting during play, without consequence, former tour professional Ewen Murray - who works for Europe's Sky Sports network - met Woods' spit with considerable spite in his on-air remarks. Murray said Woods' action, on his way to a 75 and a tie for 20th place in the tournament, meant "somebody now has to come behind him and maybe putt over his spit. It does not get much lower than that."
The European Tour, in announcing the fine - which typically ranges from $400 to $16,000 for a minor breach - issued a statement saying that tournament director Mike Stewart thought there had been "a breach of the tour code of conduct."
Websites buzzed with opinions and citations of similar incidents. Spaniard Sergio Garcia spit into the cup during the Doral tournament in 2007, and Steve Marino was caught spitting by television cameras during the final round of the tournament at Pebble Beach on Sunday. Neither was fined.
Brian Mahoney, tournament director for the Metropolitan Golf Association, noted that the pro tours have their own codes of conduct that touch on behavior and swearing and "expand to dress code. It's news to me that spitting is significantly frowned upon. This could be a sensitivity to the green complex.
"We haven't heard of this before," Mahoney said, "but it's not a surprise that when Mr. Woods does something on TV, it becomes an issue."