Women's Golf Legends Respond to Furor Over Tiger Woods Tampon Incident: 'Fun Between Two Friends'
Two high-performing women golfers downplayed a joke some on social media had lambasted as “immature” and “stale,” as well as anti-woman.
After a seven-month break, Woods appeared at the Genesis Invitational and was teamed with his good friend Justin Thomas along with Rory McIlroy, who made up the third member of the team.
Woods’ play wasn’t particularly impressive, but by the ninth tee he gotten into something of a groove.
After Woods popped a longer drive than either Thomas or McIlroy, Woods had a gift for the younger player, and the whole thing was caught on video, USA Today reported.
Norwegian professional golfer Suzann Pettersen, recently selected to captain Europe for the next two Solheim Cup events, dismissed it as a “boyish joke.”
“I know Tiger quite well,” she said, according to Sky Sports. “I don’t know Justin Thomas as well, but I know kind of Tiger’s humor and that’s a very probably boyish joke between the two of them and I don’t really take it too personal.”
“I think that was supposed to be a gag between the two of them and unfortunately some cameras caught it in the heat of the moment,” she added. “I don’t know, I don’t think he meant to be offensive in any way. I’m pretty easy on stuff like that. I’m sure it was meant as a joke, not as a harassment to women in general.”
Dame Laura Davies, who will serve as Europe’s vice-captain under Pettersen for the Solheim Cup, reacted similarly.
“I think it’s misplaced jokes, a laddy kind of joke,” said said, dismissing the incident as “banter” and a “bit of fun between two friends.”
“I’m sure Tiger meant no harm by it,” she added. “I can’t believe there was any malice in it.”
Woods had hit a 323-yard drive off the tee while Thomas’ shot only ranged out to 313 yards.
That was apparently the moment Tiger had been waiting for, because as the two began walking down the fairway, Woods slipped a tampon into Thomas’ hand.
Yes, Tiger Woods 100% handed Justin Thomas a tampon after he outdrove him. pic.twitter.com/VJbfldyXhw
— Busted Coverage (@bustedcoverage) February 17, 2023
Tiger Woods had a gift for Justin Thomas after driving it past him on number nine.
(via @GettyImages) pic.twitter.com/HXZEQSAhEU
— Rick Gehman (@RickRunGood) February 17, 2023
Not everyone was dismissive of Woods’ humor; some on social media attacked him for misogyny.
USA Today’s Christine Brennan blasted Woods as a bad “girl dad” for the tampon joke. Brennan slammed Tiger for using the tampon to say, in essence, “You play like a girl.”
Really, Tiger? You’re a 47-year-old ‘girl dad’ who still pulls juvenile and sexist tampon pranks like an immature school boy? My @usatodaysports column: https://t.co/s6Pk6vTLn3
— Christine Brennan (@cbrennansports) February 17, 2023
“Really, Tiger?” Brennan wrote. “What a bizarre thing for a ‘girl dad’ to do. His daughter Sam, now 15, grew up playing soccer and had just played in a tournament in Florida when she arrived to watch him win the Masters in 2019.”
Brennan was hardly alone in her criticism.
😡WHY did they think this was funny? WHAT was the purpose of it? HOW are we supposed to remove any stigma around periods and menstrual health if top-level sportsmen are pulling stunts like this & giggling like school boys?😡@thewellhq https://t.co/RvTQKuh9CO
— Georgie Heath (@GeorgieHeath27) February 17, 2023
Positioning menstruation as weakness is the patriarchy and this is a puerile, stale joke. Let’s put the menstrual cramp machine on Tiger Woods so he can have some more data about menstruation. https://t.co/0tuZdYzjLZ
— Jennifer Gunter (@DrJenGunter) February 17, 2023
Sports commentators laughing, and the fact that Tiger Woods had the tampon in his pocket, ready for the right moment to disrespect women, again 🙄 yeah, I guess Tiger might want to get a refresher on all that therapy he had after his first wife discovered what his other hobby was
— liz (@liz63972336) February 17, 2023
Statistically, however, woman golfers do not drive a ball as far as male golfers. For example, top male PGA golfer Cameron Young has a top drive of 316 yards, while top LPGA golfer Maria Fasso’s average shot is only 279 yards.
Statistics also show that the median distance for men is 290.7 yards, while the median for women is 257.5.
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