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Irish Mirror
Irish Mirror
Ben Parsons

Tiger Woods slammed for having "never been a leader" by Olympic icon after tampon prank

Olympic legend Michael Johnson has blasted Tiger Woods for "learning nothing" following his apology for a bizarre tampon prank.

Woods received stinging criticism at the Genesis Invitational on Thursday after he handed a tampon to playing partner Justin Thomas - having just outdriven him.

The 15-time major champion's return to competitive action on the PGA Tour has dominated the headlines this week, but the incident involving close friend Thomas has overshadowed his impressive effort to make the cut at Riviera.

Thomas smiled when 47-year-old Woods slipped the tampon into his hand after outdriving him - but the prank has not gone down well in the golfing world and beyond.

Sky Sports golf presenter Sarah Stirk labelled the prank as "crass" and "Insensitive", while many on social media deemed the stunt as offensive towards women.

Woods - who was aware of the backlash - apologised after his second round for the offence he may have caused with his joke with Thomas.

“It was supposed to be all fun and games but it obviously hasn’t turned out that way,” he 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.”

Woods handed a tampon to Thomas after outdriving him (Getty Images)

But American sprinting icon Johnson was far from convinced by the manner of the Woods apology. The four-time Olympic gold medallist is unimpressed that Woods' reputation remains in tact despite controversial incidents in his personal life over the years.

Johnson tweeted: “Apology starting with ‘If I offended anyone’ is no apology. But this is Tiger. Never been a leader and he’s Teflon. Still heralded after all the mistakes so he’s learned nothing. Media focus always on miraculous recovery. Never why the need for recovery.”

Woods's marriage broke down following a car crash in November 2009 that led to his admission about infidelity and a very public apology. And in 2017, he pleaded guilty to reckless driving after he had taken a mix of prescription drugs to cope with back problems.

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