Tiger didn’t mean to chuck his driver

So Tiger Woods’ driver flew into the gallery surrounding the 13th tee at Kingston Heath Saturday at the Australian Masters, which you can see in the video below.

It was a shot perhaps as lucky as his chip-in on No. 16 at the 2005 Masters, and as dopey as Jean Van de Velde’s driver off the 18th tee at Carnoustie at the 1999 British Open.

Some inside the golf blogosphere wonder why this whole Foul Driver Down Under (FDDU) incident isn’t a bigger story, saying that golf writers are just shying away from tainting El Tigre, as usual.

Count me in the Eh, Whatever group, for a few reasons:

1.) Tiger didn’t mean to throw his driver into the gallery, nor did he throw it directly into the gallery.

As you can infer from the video, he slammed his driver down onto the tee box and it somehow ricocheted off the ground back into the gallery. (Quick, someone check the grooves on that thing!)

Of course, had he flung the driver into the gallery with the help of his caddie Stevie Williams and one of those contraptions they uses to launch T-shirts into the crowd at professional sports games, it would be another story, a bigger one.

Considering speed, loft and weight, the worst injury that could have resulted may have been a chipped tooth, yet I’m sure I could probably find 500 million people that would love to be on the other end of that apology note/gift.

2.) Tiger throws more clubs and F-bombs than Williams throws cameras. It’s old news, which is the biggest story here.

Maybe if Woods hadn’t fessed up, multiple times before, and said that he’s working on keeping his emotions in check, we’d turn our heads. Instead, it’s about as exhilarating as seeing John Daly’s Loudmouth Pants for the 40th time.

Tiger Tantrum No. 9,837? OK, great. Now put on NBC so I can watch Bill Belichick throw a football game.

3.) Too many people have told me they enjoy those humanizing fits of rage.

Don’t get me wrong; Woods is in a unique societal position, much different than any weekend hacker, and really should think at least twice about the image he is relaying, to junior golfers especially.

It’s un-Augusta National-like, for sure.

But who am I to judge, especially when I’ve had to throw 5-irons up at branches in order to knock my driver back down?

(I was 12, and it was raining, but I’m not going to make any excuses.)

Forty years ago at a preseason New England Patriots football game, my father jumped down five rows, onto an older couple, to catch a football that had been kicked over the netting. (It was a split-second decision, and all parties involved laughed it off.)

It’s one of my favorite pieces of sports memorabilia.

If we are to get on Tiger for anything this week, it should be for taking the driver back from the fan who caught it.

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