From the Rough

Golf without discretion

Tiger Woods won’t be fined for critical remarks about rules official

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Less than 24 hours after the AP’s Doug Ferguson published an article detailing the PGA’s intent to fine Tiger Woods for his post-round public criticism of a rules official. The news literally shook the golf world last night, as everyone from Shackelford to Sobel pondered Tiger’s reaction to the comments.

Instead of coming out and publicly apologizing for the comments, Woods did the exact opposite: he stood by his comments after the round and made sure everyone in attendance knew he wasn’t going to slink away.

“I thought they would have used better judgment on that considering we were the ones that were probably going to win the golf tournament in the last group,” Woods said from Hazeltine National Golf Club, where the PGA Championship begins on Thursday. “We separated ourselves.

“And after what Paddy went through [he hit his fourth shot in the water], we were still right there behind the group in front of us. So I don’t know if the group in front of us was being timed or not. They didn’t look like they were rushing. But it certainly influenced us in how we played and influenced the outcome of the tournament. That’s not how you want to have the tournament come to an end,” he said.

Woods is right, you never want someone other than the player to affect the outcome of a tournament. While it seemed crazy to think the tour would fine its best player for comments that, in the end, made sense. You could tell based on the stories coming out that Finchem was trying to put his foot down to say, “hey, Tiger isn’t bigger than the tour.”

Well it didn’t last long, as word came out late yesterday that Tiger wouldn’t be fined by the tour for his comments directed at rules official, John Paramor.

“There has been no process started with respect to any disciplinary action,” said Ty Votaw, the tour’s executive vice president of communications. “[PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem] was surprised when he read the article. Based on the reports he read, Tiger’s comments related to the impact of the [rules] decision, and we did not read them as being an unreasonable attack or disparaging.”

I’ll be honest when I say I do believe Doug Ferguson’s initial report regarding the fine for Tiger Woods. Ferguson is one of the best journalists around, and I honestly don’t think he’d just go with a story based on a rumor from one source. I think what ended up happening was the tour got a lot of gruff from the media in various stories the day after, so in an effort to nip the issue in the bud prior to the start of the final major, they decided to pull the fine and let the story disappear.

I guarantee you if this was any other week on tour, you’d probably see this fine go through. In the end, Tiger ends up looking like the winner, while the PGA Tour ends up playing the role of the subservient little brother. It just goes to show you how much Tim Finchem relies on Tiger each and every week he tees it up.

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Written by Jonathan Wall

08/11/2009 at 6:54 pm

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