By Stephanie Wei
Photo: Stuart Franklin/Getty Images
Say it ain’t so! Tiger Woods won the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational and called out rules official John Paramor.
Tiger and Padraig Harrington were coming down the stretch in the final round. Through fifteen holes, Paddy was leading by one stroke. On the sixteenth tee, Paramor put the pair on the clock because they were out of position. Yep, seriously.
In Tiger’s post-round interview, he repeatedly made it clear that he was unhappy with Paramor’s decision and blamed him for interrupting what had been a thrilling match.
“Like I was telling [Harrington] out there, I’m sorry that John got in the way of a great battle because it was such a great battle for 16 holes, and we’re going at it head-to-head, and unfortunately that happened.”
And he said the ruling was the reason why Paddy carded a triple-bogey 8 on the hole and ultimately lost.
“I don’t think that Paddy would have hit the pitch shot that way if he was able to take his time, look at it, analyze it, but he was on the clock, had to get up there quickly and hit it — Yeah, and hit it in the water.”
In case you missed it, long story short — Paddy drove it in the right trees, punched out to the rough on the edge of a fairway bunker and then overshot the green on his approach. Tiger is referring to the next shot, where Paddy pitched it into the water hazard.
I’m not a fan of slow play. In fact, it might be one of my biggest pet peeves. But it’s a different story when the final group is coming down the stretch in the final round. Especially because the sixteenth hole turned out to be the dealbreaker, so to speak. The pair was warned on the 6th hole as well, which is understandable. The third to last hole, though? Gimme a freakin’ break! Sure, rules are rules. But officials have discretion to make these calls as they see fit. In this scenario, let them play.
When was the last time you heard Tiger sound off this vehemently about anything? Kudos to him for expressing his disapproval. Rules officials were even brought into the media center to defend Paramor’s decision. Whatever. It was the wrong call. Paddy didn’t attribute it to his meltdown (I’m not saying he choked). He took responsibility, but mentioned he felt rushed. That should not happen to a player in the final group, who is leading, no less — even if he is professional. As a bit of an aside, Tiger was also a gracious winner, repeatedly commending Paddy for his stellar play.
Perhaps Tiger speaking out about it will affect how they handle such situations in the future. After all, he is Tiger Woods.