Golf

Newsflash: Woods spits all the time

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Robert Lusetich

After more than 20 years of covering everything from election campaigns to the Olympic Games, Robert Lusetich turned his focus to writing about his first love: golf. He is author of Unplayable: An Inside Account of Tiger's Most Tumultuous Season. Follow him on Twitter.

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Here’s a newsflash: Tiger Woods spits all the time.

Ever since I’ve known him, he’s suffered from allergies and hacks up loogies as a matter of course.

It’s certainly gross, though he’s not the only human being I know to do so.

Tiger Woods

OUT FOR NO. 1

It's been an up and down season for Tiger. Where does he sit in GolfWeek's rankings?

On top of that, as any parent can tell you, kids bring home colds in the winter and it’s just a matter of time before you’re infected, too.

When I saw Woods at Torrey Pines two weeks ago, he couldn’t shake a cold he’d caught from his son, Charlie.

He spent the week blowing his nose into his golf towel and, yes, spitting.

None of that is meant to say that what Woods did in Dubai — spitting on the green as he prepared to putt on Sunday — wasn’t distasteful.

It was.

I certainly wouldn’t want to be picking up my ball if it came to rest on that oyster.

He’s been fined by the European Tour for his actions, hardly the first fine of his career given his penchant for greeting bad shots with bursts of loud profanity.

On Monday, Woods apologized for his actions.

"The Euro Tour is right — it was inconsiderate to spit like that and I know better," Woods said on Twitter. "Just wasn't thinking and want to say I'm sorry."

But there are two things that bother me about the furor triggered by the incident.

The first is that he’s being punished only because his act was televised.

Be sure that if other players spent more time in the glare of the camera, the world’s tours would be making a lot more money in fines.

But more importantly, I’m bothered that what Woods did is being equated to what Sergio Garcia did a few years ago at Doral.

Garcia’s act was one of extreme petulance and immaturity.

Annoyed that putts wouldn’t fall for him, the Spaniard spat directly into the cup, as if it were the cup’s fault that he can’t putt.

Whereas there was a chance no player would come into contact with Woods’ deposit on the green in Dubai, there was no chance of any player avoiding Garcia’s spit, as they’d all eventually stick their hands into the cup to fish out their ball.

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