CHASKA, Minn. — Who was that Swooshed man?
Known for making diplomatic (read: dull as dirt) remarks in press conferences, on Tuesday Tiger Woods again ripped the rules official who placed him and playing partner Padraig Harrington on the clock in the final round of the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone Country Club.
During his press conference at the 91st PGA Championship, Woods added — and the PGA Tour confirmed — that he had not been fined for his critical Sunday night comments, contrary to a Monday report by the Associated Press.
Talking to a roomful of journalists at Hazeltine National Golf Club, where he’s gunning for his 15th major and the 71st win of his career, Woods still seemed peeved for having “a great battle” at Bridgestone cut short two days earlier by a rules flap.
“Yes, I’ve heard from the Tour, and there’s no fine,” Woods said, referring to the Monday AP article. “It was an erroneous report.”
On Sunday in Akron, Woods singled out referee John Paramor for placing Woods and Padraig Harrington on the clock for slow play on the par-5 16th. At the time, Harrington led Woods by a stroke. The warning didn’t affect Woods, who soon launched a 178-yard 8-iron to inches on No. 16 and made birdie. But a rattled Harrington rushed three difficult shots, Woods said, leading to a triple-bogey meltdown. It was all over but the shouting (by Tiger).
That’s not the way it should be, the World No. 1 said. Put your whistles away.
“[W]e were the only two in contention to win the event,” he said Tuesday. “We had separated ourselves. The winner… was going to come from our group, and we were having a great battle. That’s why I said what I said, because that certainly affected how Paddy played the hole. He was one up with three holes to go, and we were put on the clock. It certainly changed everything.”
Woods, whose win Sunday was the 70th of his career, said that he and Harrington had not fallen more than a few minutes behind. “We finished at 6:03,” he said, three minutes after CBS’s broadcast was slated to end.
On Tuesday, Tiger spoke of the incident in blunt, if calm, tones, cutting off a questioner at one point.
Q: “Do you in any way regret personalizing the issue by naming John Paramor in your criticism of — ”
A: “No, because he’s the one who did it.”
“I thought they would have used better judgment on that considering that, as I said, we were the ones that were probably going to win the golf tournament in the last group,” Woods added. “It certainly influenced us in how we played and influenced the outcome of the tournament, [and] that’s not how you want to have the tournament come to an end.”
Earlier Tuesday, Harrington declined to play Blame the Ref. “I reacted poorly to the situation, and that’s my own fault,” he said. “It’s part of the rules that these things are going to happen… As for what [Tiger] said, I think it’s easier for him having won the tournament. He can take the moral high ground and say what he wants. Having lost the tournament, I’m going to take it on the chin and say it was my mistake.”
The PGA Tour doesn’t comment when players are fined, and it’s believed that Woods has written his share of checks over the years for dropping the odd F-bomb. However, it appears that Stop Watch-gate will bring no wrist slap. Says Ty Votaw, the Tour’s vice president of communication and international affairs, “The information conveyed to the AP reporter [by an anonymous source] was inaccurate,” he said. “There has been no process started with regards to any disciplinary action.” PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem did not consider Tiger’s comments “unreasonable,” Votaw added.
So it’s official. No fine for Tiger.
Well, at least until the Tour reads the transcript of his Tuesday press conference.