By John Strege
The incompatibility of Tiger Woods and boom mics resurfaced in the third round of the British Open on Saturday, an imprecise shot at the second hole causing him to vocally express his displeasure in a manner frowned upon by network television executives.
"Tiger's either unaware the microphone is there or he doesn't care," ESPN's Paul Azinger said, surely aware of the answer. If not, Sean McDonough was quick to provide it.
"Clearly, he doesn't care, Paul," McDonough replied, "because you have to be a fool to not be aware there are microphones everywhere."
The blue streak and the ubiquitous boom mics have been a fact of life, and not a flattering one, for Woods. Most notable among his outbursts came at the 18th hole of the second round of the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach in 2000. When he pulled his tee shot into the ocean, he unloaded the entirety of a longshoreman's vocabulary, and it came across loud and clear on television.
The apology occasionally has been part of his repertoire, too. At the 2010 Masters, there was this exchange with the media:
Question: "You mentioned that you were going to try to tone down the outbursts. Any regrets about some of the cursing on the front nine?"
Woods: "Did I? If I did, then I'm sorry."
The photo here shows his reaction to his second shot at the second hole.
Good point, Brandel
Instructor Sean Foley was receiving kudos from several quarters for having three players with whom he works -- Woods, Lee Westwood and Hunter Mahan -- in the top five. Web.com Tour player Jamie Lovemark called it a "StripeShow" on Twitter.
Golf Channel's Brandel Chamblee countered via Twitter by noting that Woods was 50th in greens in regulation, but first in putts, while Westwood was 85th in greens in regulation and fourth in putts.
A Twitter follower, incidentally, asked Hank Haney, Tiger's former coach, who Foley would prefer to see win on Sunday -- Woods, Westwood or Mahan.
"The one that eliminates the second guessing," Haney replied. That would be Tiger, of course.
While we're young?
Slow play became an issue in a third-straight major championship on Saturday, and included one player, Hideki Matsuyama, who was assessed a one-stroke penalty for slow play.
Woods and Westwood and Miguel Angel Jimenez and his playing partner Henrik Stenson also were put on the clock at the 12th hole. What was the likelihood that Woods and Westwood, tied for the lead at the time, would receive a similar penalty? Remote.
"I'll say this," Azinger said, "it's a lot easier to give Matsuyama a one-shot penalty than it is to give Tiger Woods or Lee Westwood a one-shot penalty in this situation."
Curtis Strange provided this explanation for why play was slow. "It's so tough to play at a pace when these greens are so demanding and so tricky. It just takes a while. I'm not defending slow play at all. But when your ball bounces all over the world and it's tough to get it up and in, that's what slows the game down."
Recall that amateur Tianlang Guan, 14, was assessed a slow-play penalty at the Masters and Dustin Johnson, Bubba Watson and Nicolas Colsaerts were on the clock at the U.S. Open.
David Duval: "The best way to describe the greens are by comparing them to the worn out mats at the driving range. Same speed and firmness.#slowdownball"
(Getty Images photo)