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Irish Mirror
Irish Mirror
Alasdair Hooper

Tiger Woods apologises following backlash after “crass” tampon prank with Justin Thomas

Tiger Woods has apologised after his tampon prank with Justin Thomas attracted stinging criticism.

The golfing icon has been competing at the Genesis Invitational PGA Tour event, which began on Thursday, with his latest comeback to competitive action attracting plenty of headlines. But, following his opening round, it was his prank with Thomas that attracted all the attention and landed him in hot water.

Paired in a star-studded group with Rory McIlroy and Justin Thomas, Woods hit his drive further than Thomas from the tee and he was then seen slipping a tampon into the hand of his friend. Thomas smiled at the prank but many viewers and pundits were left unimpressed by the joke and its connotations.

Sky Sports commentator Sarah Stirk was one of those left unhappy as she labelled the prank “crass” and suggested it was Woods telling his rival that he “drives the ball like a woman”. She also added that she thought Woods was inferring that female players ‘are inferior’ to males.

"My overriding feelings: completely surprised and, being honest, really disappointed." said Stirk on commentary. "I think it was crass to be honest. They're good friends, Tiger Woods and JT (Thomas). Play a lot a together, good buddies. It was seemingly done in jest.

"To me, this laddy, blokey behaviour, passing the tampon, and effectively saying 'I've outdriven you, you're driving the ball like a woman' is the inference of the incident that happened. And that, to me, says females are inferior to men."

Following the backlash to the joke, the American golfing legend has now apologised following his second round at the competition, in which he slumped to one over par.

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

“As I said, if I offended anybody in any shape or form, I’m sorry. It was not intended to be that way. 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 different.”

Tiger Woods handed a Justin Thomas a tampon after outdriving him at The Genesis Invitational (Getty Images)

A number of individuals have had their say on the joke, including golf influencer Paige Spiranac who couldn’t help making light of it, referencing LIV Golf rebel Phil Mickelson.

"I need a LIV vs PGA tour Ryder cup type event just so Tiger can give Phil a tampon after out driving him,” the 29-year-old replied on social media.

Woods will be hoping to keep any further headlines at the Genesis Invitational strictly to the golf course, with so much anticipation previously surrounding his return to competitive action.

His participation at events, following his February 2021 car crash where he suffered multiple leg injuries, remains few and far between as he has openly admitted several times he is still struggling to cope with the physical demands on his injuries.

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