Woods kept it clean at Hazeltine, but still tossed the odd club.
Fred Vuich/SI
Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The world's greatest golfer managed to keep the G in the PGA, but even Tiger Woods has an off day or two. There were a few times when Tiger's summer turned to simmer, and when the fur starts to fly, so does the profanity.

When Woods can't drop a putt, he drops an f bomb. When he can't drill a tee shot, he drills his bag with his driver. He exploded when his British turned brutish, and he missed the cut for only the sixth time in his pro career.

The coarse language and club acrobatics aren't anything we don't hear and see on courses every day. But this was Tiger Woods, who is supposed to set an example, especially for children. And this is golf, the "gentleman's game," in which virtue is supposed to trump vitriol.

Well, I've got two words for you, and they're not "you're away." Get real! If Tiger wants to go ballistic and wax scatological, let him.

There is nothing golf needs more now than emotion, and Woods is one of the only players who ever shows any. (Lucas Glover, anyone?) The man is a pro with millions in the bank, and the fire in his belly — plus the steam coming out of his ears and the vulgarities from his mouth — show that he cares about more than cashing checks, which can't be said of everyone carrying a PGA Tour card.

He's right: Second suc ... uh, isn't good.

The namby-pambys in the blogosphere have been whining that golf — horrors! — could turn into the NFL or, worse, tennis. Maybe it's time the game entered the big leagues of visible emotion. It survived when Tommy (Thunder) Bolt was hurling eight-irons and invective, when Steve (the Volcano) Pate erupted and when Tom Weiskopf unleashed tirades. But they were labeled "characters," not bad influences. And their acts of madness displayed a humanity that today's pros seem to lack.

As for our children, c'mon. It's O.K. to hear Dad curse a blue streak when he hammers his thumb but not when Tiger hammers one six feet past the hole? (Anyway, why are kids watching golf on a Saturday afternoon? Shouldn't they be outdoors?) This is emotion, this is the heat of battle, this is life. Maybe youngsters need to learn that some things matter.

One more upside to a blue Tiger. It shows that golf is hard, even for him. That's a good thing, because he usually makes it look too easy. Then Joe and Josephine Public give it a try, can't smoke a six-iron 200 yards from a fairway bunker to four feet, and give up.

No one said golf was supposed to be easy. Or easy listening.

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