Wednesday 16 January 2019

Woods says sorry for spitting scenes after fine

Tiger Woods has apologised for his spitting at the Dubai Desert Classic, but actions will have to speak louder than words at next week's Accenture Match Play in Tucson.

Just a few hours after being fined yesterday, Woods posted on Twitter: "The Euro Tour is right -- it was inconsiderate to spit like that and I know better. Just wasn't thinking and want to say I'm sorry."

What it all means is that it will not just be Woods' game that is in the spotlight on his return -- his behaviour will be too.

Even if his spitting on a green had been the first time he had ever done such a thing, the former world number one would have been widely criticised. But when television commentator Ewen Murray called him "arrogant and petulant" on Sunday he was talking about the way Woods has been for years.

Not just the spitting, but also the swearing and club-throwing and the countless times when he and his entourage have marched past autograph-hunters of all ages. A year ago he had a bigger problem on his mind -- trying to save his marriage.

He went on television to apologise for his serial adultery, but during that long painful address he also said: "I need to make my behaviour more respectful of the game."

Woods, now a divorced father of two, vowed to mend his ways and to return to his Buddhist roots, but there is clearly work still to be done to repair his battered image.

The 35-year-old was found guilty of a breach of the European Tour's code of conduct. The amount of the fine has not been made public, but the range for minor breaches of the code is from £250 to £10,000.

Woods was trying last week to prevent his barren spell reaching 17 events -- a record for his professional career -- going back to November 2009.

But, from only one shot off the lead entering the final day, the 14-time major champion slumped to 20th spot with a closing 75 -- and that was his worst-ever score in a regular European Tour event since his amateur days.

The code of conduct states: "On becoming a member of the European Tour each person voluntarily submits himself to standards of behaviour and ethical conduct beyond those required of ordinary golfers and members of the public.

"The European Tour has been the hallmark of honesty, fair dealings, courtesy and sportsmanship and each member is bound to honour and uphold that tradition at all times.

"It would be impossible to define exactly the standard of conduct expected or to list all acts which would amount to a breach of the code. In most cases common sense should tell the members the standard of behaviour required."

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