Calgary Herald

Tiger should be kicked out of Augusta: Dahlberg

- TIM DAHLBERG TIM DAHLBERG IS A NATIONAL SPORTS COLUMNIST FOR THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

It’s a question we’ve all been asking since he wrecked his Escalade and his life that Thanksgivi­ng night 30 months ago. Who really is Tiger Woods? Part of the answer came in a foul-mouthed, club-kicking back nine Friday at the Masters that would have gotten you or me thrown off much lesser golf courses than Augusta National.

Pretty simple, actually. He’s an embarrassm­ent to his sport.

If Billy Payne was watching he had to be horrified. The Masters chairman who famously chastised Woods two years ago for conduct unbecoming a role model would have seen conduct unfit for the back nine of a local muni.

Amid the staid confines of golf’s most hallowed grounds, Woods acted like a petulant teenager who wasn’t getting his way. He cursed wayward shots, hung his head after missed putts, and took mock swings in anger. To top things off, he kicked his 9-iron about 15 yards on the 16th tee box after badly missing yet another shot.

About the only thing he didn’t do was grab his bag from caddie Joe La Cava and toss it into the nearby pond.

“I think we can safely say Tiger has lost his game . . . and his mind,” CBS analyst Nick Faldo said on air.

The player who vowed to honour and respect the game when he came back from the sex scandal that derailed his career and ruined his marriage did just the opposite. And he did it on a course where over the years the game’s greats have conducted themselves with only the best sense of deportment.

Asked afterward how he felt, he could only offer this: “I feel hungry.” Woods will be around for the weekend because the 75 he shot was still good enough to make the cut, though watching his histrionic­s as he played the back nine might have led a casual observer to think he was struggling to break 100. He’s eight shots back of the lead and will have an early tee time today with defending champion Charl Schwartzel, who might want to bring along a helmet in case the clubs start flying again.

If Payne was as serious about keeping club decorum intact as he is about keeping women members out of Augusta National, he would do well take it upon himself to show Woods the door.

Stand up to the bully. He’s allowed to get away with things the other 95 players wouldn’t dream of doing. Stand up for a game that Woods insists on treating as if it were a roller derby match.

Won’t happen, of course. Woods gets special treatment here not just because he’s a four-time champion who knows how to say all the right things when they drape a green jacket around his shoulders, but because he moves the needle on television.

What set Woods off on Friday wasn’t hard to figure out. He missed three putts under five feet on the front nine — two of them badly — and was already steaming when he started the back. Then the swing he thought had been rebuilt to perfection with coach Sean Foley collapsed under the pressure of trying to post a score.

He swung a club in anger after pushing an iron shot badly on No. 11, then cursed when he missed the par putt. He muttered after another shot stuck in the bank of the hazard on the 13th hole, then threw a tee down in anger to mark the spot for his pitch. A 4-iron at 15 went so far right he was yelling at it and looked like he wanted to break his club, and on the 16th hole he was so irritated by a missed 9-iron that he dropped the club behind him, then kicked it as hard as he could.

Ultimately, Woods is the greatest player of his era, and a role model in the sport. He has a responsibi­lity to behave, yet he can’t seem to control how he behaves.

He embarrasse­d himself, and he embarrasse­d the sport.

But at least we know more now about the real Tiger Woods.

 ?? Jamie Squire, Getty Images ?? Tiger Woods kicks his club after a tee shot on the 16th hole Friday.
Jamie Squire, Getty Images Tiger Woods kicks his club after a tee shot on the 16th hole Friday.

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