Slow Play Controversy and a Fine for Tiger Woods

In golf, as in most professional sports, there's always some kind of controversy swirling, somewhere. It's only natural.

You take famous athletes with big personalities - blend in some passionate fans who worship those athletes - add lots of rules, many of which are open to interpretation - and throw it all into a mixing bowl of media that includes everything from independent bloggers to the established 24-hour sports networks. It's a classic recipe for controversy. Even Julia Child would agree with that.

Golf's Controversy du Jour, the one some are calling the "Woods-Harrington-John Paramor "on-the-clock" incident" and other simply refer to as the "Clock Kerfuffle", appears to be quite minor on the scale of golf controversies. The underlying topic - slow play - is one that a solid majority of players, both recreational and professional cite as one of golf's most significant problems. Perhaps because of that, there was not much of an outcry to back up the criticism levied on rules official, John Paramor by Tiger Woods yesterday at the Bridgestone Invitational.

Mr. Woods made his feelings known when he and Padraig Harrington were put on the clock at the par-5 16th. For those who don't know Padraig subsequently floundered, a triple bogey snowman ensued, and Tiger took the tournament with a four shot victory.

Then - post-victory - the winner made a couple of statements that, it now seems, may have led him to an undisclosed fine... and though many voiced sympathy for Mr. Harrington's lost opportunity, there was little in the way of support for Tiger's anti-Paramor protests.

At this point you're probably wondering why, other than the fact that *I once dated had a photo taken with him, I chose to illustrate this post with a picture of Sergio Garcia.

Though I'm confident the ruling would have been the same, I couldn't help but wonder if the reaction - on the part of the fans and journalists ...even on the part of Tiger - would have had a different tone had the surly Spaniard been on the clock at the 16th instead of the prim, proper Irishman. I'm quite sure the vibe would have been distinctly different. We probably would have heard a tad more whining too.

Photo: Golf Girl Media