Posted by Niall O'Dowd at 8/11/2009 9:35 AM EDT
I'm not the biggest fan of Tiger Woods, but after his sportsmanship last Sunday I am certainly a believer in his decency.
I often find him too pouty, slamming his clubs, and insisting on playing shots when other players are still looking for their ball as he did in a recent tournament.
A guy with his incredible talents could afford to be a little more genial on the course. Look at Tom Watson and the class he showed during the British Open, no slammed clubs, not a hint of rancor, even when the playoff went against him.
But Tiger's statement of support for Irish golfer Padraig Harringotn after the latter had to hurry several critical shots on the 16th green after being warned he was behind on time was an extraordinary gesture.
The two were neck and neck to that point and were giving golf fans an incredible show. Then Harrington pulled a shot badly and was forced to play quickly because an official told him he was "on the clock."
What that means is that the pairing were sixteen minutes behind their scheduled time for completion of their round.
It was a ridiculous situation as Harrington had no time to size up the very difficult shot he had to play. Not surprisingly, he fluffed it.
Afterwards, Tiger was angry on Harrnigton's behalf, stating that it was a ridiculous decision to hurry them up given that they were the final pairing.
I agree totally. Fans worldwide were deprived of a breathtaking final two holes because of one official's decision to enforce a meaningless rule.
Let's hope that next Sunday when the PGA championship is being contested - the final major of the year - that Tiger and Harrington can have that duel in the sun that went so wrong last weekend, and let's hope there are no stuffed shirt officials on hand to disturb the players' rhythm.
No Irish Need Apply? Not anymore