Woods goes from red carpet to TPC Sawgrass

One night after making his red carpet debut in New York, Tiger
Woods was on a golf course that hasn’t treated him very well over
the years.

Woods said it took him a week to get over his tie for fourth at
the Masters. Next up is The Players Championship, where he has won
only once in 15 years and has just one top 10 since that victory in
2001.

”If you’re not playing well, you’re going to get exposed,”
Woods said.

Woods was at full exposure Monday at the Met with girlfriend
Lindsey Vonn as they attended the Costume Institute Gala. Vonn was
a guest of Vogue. He posed on the red carpet wearing a black suit,
while the Olympic ski champion wore a long white dress with
see-through slits.

”It was certainly different,” Woods said. ”Lindsey wanted to
try and grow her brand. She’s come out with a new perfume and
makeup line, so that was a big thing for her and I’m supporting it.
As you know, I’m not really big into fashion stuff.”

Are more red carpets on the horizon?

”We’ll see,” Woods said. ”Maybe I can just go in jeans and a
T-shirt or something.”

The visit to the red carpet may have helped Woods put out of his
mind the controversy at the Masters.

It started with Woods’ third shot hitting the flag on the 15th
hole and bouncing back into the water on the opening hole. Woods
unknowingly took an illegal drop, but he wasn’t told about the
possible infraction until after he signed his card. Augusta
National took the blame, with competitions chairman Fred Ridley
saying it didn’t initially notice the violation and chose not to
ask Woods about it before he signed his card.

Eventually, he was given a two-shot penalty but allowed to stay
in the tournament – instead of being disqualified for signing an
incorrect scorecard – under Rule 33-7 that gives a committee
discretion to waive the disqualification penalty.

The U.S. Golf Association and Royal & Ancient last week said
the Masters was within its right not to disqualify Woods. He wound
up four shots off the lead in a tie for fourth, his 15th
consecutive major without winning.

Woods said he was surprised that the drop and how it was handled
was still being debated.

”Fred explained it pretty well,” Woods said. ”For some
reason, evidently that wasn’t accepted.”

Woods said he if saw a violation on television, he would not
call it in. Television viewers – in the case of the Masters, it was
David Eger, a respected rules expert – have been calling in what
they think are rules violations for years.

”I don’t ever see myself calling in and saying that Kobe
(Bryant) traveled or things like that, or an offensive lineman
held,” he said. ”But it’s our sport. And that’s what we’ve done
and we’ve accepted. Certain groups are going to get more heat than
others just because they’re on TV. It is what it is.”

Woods said he didn’t stop thinking about it until he resumed
practice a week later.

”Unfortunately, I hit a good shot and got a bad break,” Woods
said. ”But I still had an opportunity over the next 36 holes to
get it back … and I just didn’t do it.”

Woods doesn’t have much of an answer when it comes to the TPC
Sawgrass.

He has failed to crack the top 20 eight times, the most of any
tournament he has played. He is the No. 1 player in the year, and
looks like it. In his last three events, he has won twice and tied
for fourth. How that translates to the TPC Sawgrass is
unpredictable.

”Some of the years, I’ve driven it well and not hit my irons
well, and other years I’ve hit the ball great and not putted
well,” Woods said. ”And other years I’ve drove it awful and
didn’t score well. You’ve got to have all the facets of your game
going here.”

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