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Suspend Tiger? PGA Tour Lacks Cojones

Feb 23, 2010 – 6:03 PM
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David Whitley

David Whitley %BloggerTitle%

Tiger Woods dodged a few hundred embarrassing questions last week. His enablers at the PGA Tour can't answer just one.

Why isn't Woods suspended?

Based on case history, he's done enough to warrant a few months in exile, or wherever John Daly was sent. That assumes the PGA Tour is interested in being consistent. Based again on case history, the Tour bans all women members dressed as Lady Justice.

"A totalitarian, authoritarian system," is what Mac O'Grady called the Tour.

That got him a six-week suspension in 1986. It's hard to say how many players have been suspended since, mainly because the Tour apparently hired Hugo Chavez as its legal consultant.

It doesn't announce suspensions. It won't acknowledge when it sanctions a player. It won't even say what the rules are.

What you have is a star chamber where the stars never seem to get chambered. It's safe to assume, however, that the commissioner can discipline players for the standard "conduct detrimental to the game."

This is where Tiger fans and defense attorneys yell, "Back off, Morality Police. His conduct was detrimental to his marriage, and that's a private matter."

Having an affair is a private matter between a man, his wife and their prenuptial agreement. But this was hardly a discreet dalliance that would leave no smudges on the game if discovered.

Woods knew his actions would turn into a mushroom cloud that blotted out all light on the Tour. If he didn't realize that, he should get a 10-year suspension for stupidity.

And please, spare me the addiction excuse. That didn't work for Daly, and he had an addiction that's actually recognized by the American Psychiatric Association. Tiger's is recognized by 16-year-old boys who don't have parental blocks on their computer.

Daly was arrested for public intoxication in 2008. His Otis the Drunk mug shot, complete with orange jumpsuit, raced around the world.

He'd also recently used a beer can as tee during a pro-am, and recruited Bucs coach Jon Gruden to be his caddy after a rain delay. Tim Finchem had every right to act, even if Daly didn't see it the commissioner's way.

"Is it fair that I got suspended?" he said. "It's not fair in reality, but it's probably fair in perception."

The perception is that Woods has hounded every porn star except John Holmes. The reality is that he's been linked to only 17 women. Rural precincts in Montana and Wyoming have yet to report, however.

If picking up an NFL coach to caddy is unbecoming of a gentleman's game, what is picking up hookers? I'll tell one thing it is:


A Hollywood madam claims Woods paid $60,000 for at least four "escorts." On the crazy assumption the madam is telling the truth, authorities could size up Woods for one of those orange jumpsuits. That would certainly enhance golf's image.

And it's not as if a player even has to break the law to be suspended. The Tour busted Ken Green for 30 days in 1997 for accusing Raymond Floyd of an improper drop at Doral 10 years earlier.

Good God, imagine if Finchem tried to suspend everyone who's accused Tiger of cheating. At least that might shut up Gloria Allred. Anyway, if you want to know how subjective the rules are we need go back only a month.

Scott McCarron accused Phil Mickelson of cheating that week after Lefty used a 20-year-old wedge to skirt new rules. McCarron wasn't suspended a day, though he probably had to write "I will not insult Phil" 1,000 times on a blackboard.

Then there's the wacky case of Jonathan Kaye. He was co-leading the 2001 Michelob Championship after two rounds when he tried to get into the locker room without his player ID badge.

Kaye reportedly chatted at length with the security guard about his round, but the guard still demanded Kaye produce a badge. Kaye tracked it down and returned with the badge clipped to the zipper of his pants.

The guard complained and Kaye got a two-month suspension. Fair enough, but witnesses said the guard also asked Vijay Singh for his ID, only to have Singh walk past and flip him a bird.

It was approximately the 282nd time Mr. Happy had flipped off or cussed out a tournament volunteer. He's probably done it a few hundred times since.

Funny, you've never heard about Vijay getting suspended.

Maybe he was banned and we just didn't know it. Sort of like when Michael Jordan "retired" in 1993, though conspiracy theorists will always say MJ was really serving a gambling suspension.

I doubt you'll see Tiger playing right field for the Birmingham Barons anytime soon. The PGA Tour provided him a nice conference room and a getaway car for last week's non-news conference.

One of the questions Tiger avoided was why he had to stage his event during the Accenture Match Play. Finchem (right) tried to take the blame, saying he should have warned players that they'd be asked about Woods re-emergence.

As tired as players are of answering Tiger questions, that wasn't the issue. They were upset that he upstaged a tournament. No matter, if need be Finchem would say he impregnated Joslyn James while running over the fire hydrant in Tiger's front yard.

Woods isn't golf's cash cow. He's a one-man herd.

A study showed this scandal has cost shareholders in sponsors like Nike, AT&T and Gatorade a cool $12 billion. Attendance drops 10 to 25 percent when he doesn't play, and TV ratings are cut in half.

At the risk of putting too indelicate a point on it, Woods has screwed everybody. So why hasn't he been suspended? He said it himself in his first Nike commercial.

"I'm Tiger Woods."

Maybe Kaye should try that the next time a guard stops him. And instead of putting a badge on his zipper, he should attach a hooker.

Based on case history, the PGA Tour would throw the door wide open for him.
Filed under: Sports
Tagged: Tiger Woods