Tiger Woods Apologizes After Handing Justin Thomas Tampon as Prank: Have People Overreacted?

Tiger Woods has faced criticism this week following an incident at the Genesis Invitational in which he handed fellow golfer Justin Thomas a tampon after outdriving him on the ninth tee.[0] Woods has since apologized, saying that the prank was not intended to offend anyone, but many have pointed out the sexist undertones of the joke.

Karen Sugar, the CEO of the Women’s Global Empowerment Fund, told TMZ Sports that Woods' prank was misogynistic, tone-deaf and “straight-up disrespectful to women and girls all over the world.”[1] Sarina Wiegman, manager of the England women's national soccer team, also weighed in, saying, “I think it's very inappropriate what he did.”[2]

Alex McDaniel, Managing Editor of USA Today's For The Win, took to Twitter to say, “If tiger spent three months a year bleeding and coping with period pain, they'd make a whole-ass documentary about how champions overcome insurmountable obstacles.”[3]

Joshua Jeffery tweeted, “Call me woke. Call me a snowflake. Call me ‘offended'. Whatever. But handing another male golfer a tampon is objectively not funny. It shows the sophistication of a 14 year old schoolboy.”[4]

Jennifer Gunter, Canadian gynaecologist and author, responded to Woods' joke by tweeting, “Positioning menstruation as weakness is the patriarchy and this is a puerile, stale joke. Let’s put the menstrual cramp machine on Tiger Woods so he can have some more data about menstruation.”[4]

Woods apologized for the incident when asked about it after his round, saying “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.”

In spite of the incident, Woods made the cut at the Genesis Invitational, his first tournament since the Open Championship in July.[5] However, many are still questioning why the golfing legend thought it was appropriate to make such a joke in the first place.

0. “Photos | Tiger Woods competes at the Genesis Invitational” Los Angeles Times, 18 Feb. 2023, https://www.latimes.com/sports/story/2023-02-16/photos-tiger-woods-genesis-invitational-riviera-country-club

1. “Tiger Woods facing backlash from women's group for prank” Yardbarker, 18 Feb. 2023, https://www.yardbarker.com/golf/articles/tiger_woods_facing_backlash_from_womens_group_for_prank/s1_13132_38485456

2. “Sarina Wiegman adds to criticism of Tiger Woods for Justin Thomas tampon ‘prank’” The Athletic, 18 Feb. 2023, https://theathletic.com/4225329/2023/02/18/tiger-woods-tampon-wiegman

3. “Tiger Woods apologizes after handing Justin Thomas a tampon at the Genesis Invitational” CNN, 18 Feb. 2023, https://www.cnn.com/2023/02/17/golf/tiger-woods-justin-thomas-tampon-spt-intl/index.html

4. “Tiger Woods Apologized For Handing His Golf Buddy A Tampon As A Joke” BuzzFeed News, 18 Feb. 2023, https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/paigeskinner/tiger-woods-justin-thomas-tampon-prank-apology

5. “Tiger Woods Apologizes for Handing Golfer Justin Thomas a Tampon During PGA Tournament” E! NEWS, 17 Feb. 2023, https://www.eonline.com/news/1365435/tiger-woods-apologizes-for-handing-golfer-justin-thomas-a-tampon-during-pga-tournament