At $3 Million, Tiger Woods Still Comes with a Temper

Michael FitzpatrickFeatured ColumnistNovember 14, 2009

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - NOVEMBER 14:  Tiger Woods of the USA prepares to play an approach shot on the 3rd hole during round three of the 2009 Australian Masters at Kingston Heath Golf Club on November 14, 2009 in Melbourne, Australia.  (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)
Quinn Rooney/Getty Images

Tiger Woods is currently taking part in the 2009 JBWere Australian Masters, which is being held this week in Melbourne, Australia. 

The JBWere Australian Masters is co-sanctioned event between the Australasia and European Tours, and is being run by Woods’ management company, IMG.

Outside of the PGA Tour, players are allowed to accept appearance fees, and Woods was given $3 million just to show up at the JBWere Australian Masters.

$1.5 came from IMG and the other $1.5 came from the Australian Government.

The $3 million has so far proved to be money well-spent as a crowd of more than 25,000 has been following Woods' every move at Kingston Heath Golf Club over the past five days.

However, when the Australian Government wrote Woods a $1.5 million check, they probably didn’t envision some their citizens being put in harms way as a result.

Still running hot from a missed five-foot birdie putt on the 12th hole, Woods pushed yet another tee shot into the right rough on the 13th.

What came next was an ugly scene to say the least, even when considering the numerous temper tantrums Woods has exhibited throughout the 2009 season.  

As Woods eyed his tee shot heading towards the 10-deep gallery lining the right-side of the fairway, he completely lost it.

He threw his club into the ground with such force that it bounced off the tee box and flew at least three-deep into a gallery that had probably been waiting out in the Australian heat for two hours just to catch a small glimpse at the world’s No. 1 golfer.

Woods’ club missed a woman and a child by less than six feet and narrowly missed the heads of several men whose faces had previously been painted with ear-to-ear smiles before seeing a large titanium driver with a Nike logo on it speeding directly towards them.  

It’s not often that you see Tiger Woods look embarrassed by anything he’s done on a golf course, but on this occasion, "embarrassed" is the only word to describe the look on Woods’ face as he walked over to retrieve his driver from the gallery.

Luckily for the crowd surrounding the 16th tee box, Woods managed to find the fairway and they were subsequently sparred from a flying Nike driver.

When Woods lipped out a short birdie putt on the 16th green he paused and gave the hole a cold stare as if couldn’t believe it had just spit out the golf ball of the world’s No. 1 player.

However, Woods should have known by this point that the golf Gods do not look kindly upon those who throw clubs at the heads of innocent bystanders.

To make matters worse, Woods slammed his putter down and let out, well, lets just say a loud expletive, after a poor lag putt on the 17th green.  He was rewarded by the golf Gods for this action by missing another short birdie putt on the 18th.

In typical Woods fashion, he still found a way to tie for the lead after 54-holes despite his extremely poor play on Saturday.

However, as the renowned sports writer Grantland Rice wrote in 1963, “It’s not whether you win or lose, it’s how you play the game.”

Woods’ extreme temper is nothing new to golf fans.  But this most recent tantrum was one of his worst for several reasons.  

He is not only representing himself this week but he’s also representing IMG and the Australian government, who each paid him $1.5 million to attend the JB Were Australian Masters.

Aside from IMG and the Australian government, he’s also representing the PGA Tour and his home country of America.  Luckily Woods’ playing partner and fellow American Jason Dufner was nothing short of a true gentleman all afternoon.  We wouldn’t want us getting a bad reputation overseas or anything now would we.  

As the dust begins to settle on Woods’ latest tamper tantrum, the Australian Government is probably contemplating whether or not the $1.5 million would have been better spent on bringing a loveable lefty to town instead.