Paul Azinger commented yesterday that Tiger Woods' behavior at the Masters was "an embarrassment to the game and an embarrassment to the membership of Augusta". Azinger was referring to Tiger's now-famous club-kicking incident on the 16th tee on Saturday.
Azinger is my least favorite golf announcer. I was very happy when ABC lost their golf contract several years ago. CBS wisely chose to send Azinger to the unemployment line while hiring his announcing partner Nick Faldo.
Azinger has a terrible announcing voice. His tone is high-pitched and nasal and these bad qualities are exacerbated by a consistent sarcasm. He's like Dennis Miller without the wit.
But that's not the worst thing about Azinger. The real problem is that he can't keep his far-right political views to himself. He notoriously refused an invitation to the Clinton White House to meet the president. Talk about classless. It's one thing to have strong political opinions during an election season, but once your side has lost and the opposition is a democratically-elected Commander in Chief, you have a duty to be at least civil.
On another occasion he was anchoring ABC's telecast of Tiger's charity tournament in California, at that time sponsored by Target. He made a comment that he admired Tiger's charity because "it turns welfare recipients into tax payers," or something to that effect. Listen, I don't tune into golf telecasts for political cant.
As far as Woods is concerned, of course the guy shouldn't be kicking his golf club around. But I'll say this: at least he's competitive. Woods has a real fire burning inside. He's also a guy who expresses his emotions freely on the golf course. His critics want to have it both ways. On the one hand, they kill him for never "revealing" himself in interviews, then kill him when he let's his emotions out on the golf course.
I'll tell you what's embarrassing. It's Rory Mcillroy and Sergio Garcia hugging on the12th green at Augusta. Here's two guys who teed it up Saturday morning very much in contention. Mcillroy shoots seven over through the first eleven holes and Sergio shoots five over through eleven. After they both birdie the 12th hole, they start laughing and hugging each other. They just played themselves out of a shot at the green jacket! What's to laugh and hug about?
Give me Woods throwing a golf club any day of the week. The guy could win 20 majors and he'd still be kicking trash cans if he missed a putt on the 18th to win his 21st major by just seven strokes instead of eight.