Tiger Woods apologizes for tampon joke he made mid-round with Justin Thomas

tiger woods apology

Tiger Woods explained his mid-round joke from Thursday's first round on Friday afternoon.

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PACIFIC PALISADES, Calif. — The two-under 69 that Tiger Woods shot Thursday afternoon at the Genesis Invitational was the story of the day for about one hour. Then it became background to a viral tweet about what Woods did shortly after teeing off on the 9th hole, for which he apologized on Friday.

In the middle of their first round, Woods outdrove Justin Thomas, who was playing in his group. Then, as they walked up the hole Woods placed a tampon in Thomas’ hand. The moment quickly went viral, thanks to high-resolution photos that captured what Woods had in his hand, incurring a wide array of responses. Part of the crowd championed Woods for his attempt at humor. Another part reviled him for the gendered type of joke he decided to tell.

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Ultimately, Woods answered for it Friday after shooting a three-over 74. Columnists were criticizing him. Media members on-site were doing radio hits about it. After four questions about his second round, Woods was asked to explain exactly what he was trying to do in that moment with Thomas. 

“Yeah, it was supposed to be all fun and games and obviously it hasn’t turned out that way,” Woods said. “If I offended anybody, it was not the case, it was just friends having fun. 

“As I said, if I offended anybody in any way, shape or form, I’m sorry. It was not intended to be that way. It was just we play pranks on one another all the time and virally I think this did not come across that way, but between us it was — it’s different.”

It was Woods’ first PGA Tour round in seven months and the first round he played in front of TV cameras since the Match in early December. Woods received his starkest criticism from USA Today columnist Christine Brennan. 

“Woods’ message to Thomas was obvious,” Brennan wrote. “It has been the go-to line of silly, often insecure boys for generations: You play like a girl.“

Woods’ two-round total of one-over earned him a made cut and two weekend rounds at the Genesis Invitational.

Sean Zak

Golf.com Editor

Zak is a writer at GOLF Magazine and just finished a book about the summer he spent in St. Andrews.