Haters, be warned.
Don’t let that apology on Tuesday by Tiger Woods fool you, PGA golfers.
Tiger’s made a list and he’s checked it twice.
He knows which golfers, and now officials, have taken their shots at him in the last five months.
Rising to the top of the list is Augusta National chairman Billy Payne.
One day after Woods 34-minute press conference with the media, Payne took his jabs at the golfer during his annual press conference on Wednesday.
“It is simply not the degree of his conduct that is so egregious here,” Payne said. “It is the fact that he disappointed all of us, and more importantly, our kids and our grandkids. Our hero did not live up to the expectations of the role model we saw for our children.”
So you’re telling me the chairman of the golf club that still won’t allow women to become members in 2010 is criticizing Woods on being a disappointment for our kids and grandkids?
Pot, meet kettle.
Payne is just the latest person to criticize Woods since he announced his hiatus from the PGA Tour last December in order to focus on repairing his marriage.
WATCH NBC NIGHTLY NEWS COVERAGE OF PAYNE’S REMARKS HERE:
Jesper Parnevik, who introduced Woods to Elin Nordegren, came out a week after the Nov. 27 car accident and took the first shot.
“I would be especially sad about it since I’m kind of — I really feel sorry for Elin — since me and my wife were at fault for hooking her up with him,” Parnevik said. “We probably thought he was a better guy than he is. I would probably need to apologize to her and hope she uses a driver next time instead of the 3-iron.”
Parnevik’s golf career is all but done after suffering a broken vertebrae (cough, karma, cough in his lower back.
Veteran golfer Tom Watson not only said Woods needed to get his personal life in order but, “he needs to clean up his act and show the respect for the game that other people before him have shown.”
Ernie Els, who currently sits on top of the money leader and FedEx Cup Points standings for 2010, said it was “selfish” for Woods to make his first public appearance in February while the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship was taking place.
Woods has a long history of embarrassing golfers on the golf course that have dissed him in the media:
2000 Presidents Cup: Vijay Singh’s caddie, Paul Tesori, wore a cap with the phrase “Tiger who?” on the back after Singh and teammate Retief Goosen defeated Woods and Notah Begay III. The next day, Woods defeated Singh 2 and 1.
2002 U.S. Open: Sergio Garcia opened his mouth after shooting 67 during the third round of the 2002 U.S. Open, saying, “I’m respectful of his game and his persona. But we’re just two human beings trying to put a little ball in the hole.” Woods was able to put that little ball in the hole in the final round, shooting a 72 to win the tournament.
2006 World Match Play Championship: Stephen Ames took a shot at Woods’ erratic driving, telling reporters that, “anything can happen, especially when he’s hitting the ball.” The lowest-seeded player in the 64-man tournament suffered the worst loss in the history of the World Match Play Championship, losing 9-and-8 to Woods. When asked if Ames’ comments sparked a fire under him, Woods responded with, “”You might say that. As I said, 9 and 8.”
2007 WGC-Bridgestone Invitational: After Rory Sabbatini claimed Woods was “more beatable than ever” when the two were paired together at the Wachovia Championship, Tiger got his revenge at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, erasing a one-shot deficit into an eight-shot victory over Sabbatini.
Golfers should take a lesson from Phil Mickelson, Woods’ biggest rival on the PGA Tour. Lefty was smart enough to realize not only shouldn’t he provoke Woods, it might help if he was publicly on Tiger’s side.
“Well, he doesn’t owe me an apology,” Mickelson said on Woods’ apology to the golfers on the PGA Tour. “I mean, in the last 12 years, he’s done so much for the game of golf. I don’t know if there’s been an individual who has capitalized more on the opportunities that he’s brought to the game of golf than myself. He doesn’t owe me a thing.”
At the end of the day, the average sports fan wouldn’t know who Parnevik, Watson or Watson were without Tiger Woods on the PGA Tour. Nobody had a problem with Tiger when their wallets were benefiting as a result of Woods’ success. Woods will be the first person to tell you that he made a mistake and that he’s taking the proper steps to regain the trust of his wife, fans and fellow golfers. The constant reminders from his so-called peers are only going to fuel Woods even more.
If Woods is able to shake off the rust following a 20-week layoff and win his fifth green jacket this weekend, the other 95 golfers competing against him and Augusta National officials will have nobody to blame but themselves.