Tiger Woods’ Prank: Apology Accepted, But Let’s Be More Mindful of Our Words and Actions

Tiger Woods' controversial tampon prank during the Genesis Invitational last week caused considerable backlash, with many claiming that it had sexist overtones. Woods apologized for any offense caused the next day, saying that it was a “prank” between himself and his playing partner Justin Thomas, and that it was not intended to be taken in a negative way.[0]

European Solheim Cup captain Suzann Pettersen has come to Woods’ defense, saying that she doesn’t believe he meant to be offensive in any way.[1] “I think that was supposed to be a gag between the two of them and unfortunately some cameras caught it in the heat of the moment,” Pettersen said.[1] “I don’t know, I don’t think he meant to be offensive in any way.”[2]

However, some critics have suggested that the prank perpetuates the idea that women are inferior to men, with lawyer Ann Olivarius tweeting: “See, it’s funny because feminine hygiene products are INHERENTLY emasculating, so when a man makes another man touch a tampon, he’s saying ‘I am a bigger and better man than you, because, GROSS, I made you touch a wrapped Tampax!’”[3]

USA Today columnist Christine Brennan wrote that Woods' message to Thomas was obvious, saying that it has been the go-to line of ‘silly, often insecure boys for generations': “You hit the ball like a girl!”[4]

Despite the criticism, Woods' daughter Sam, 15, is an avid athlete, playing soccer and participating in tournaments in Florida.

It is clear that Tiger Woods' prank was ill-advised and perpetuates a negative stereotype about female athletes.[0] However, it is also clear that Woods didn't intend to be offensive, and his apology should be taken in good faith.[5] The incident serves as a reminder to everyone that we should be more mindful of our words and actions and the impact they can have on others.

0. “Suzann Pettersen Defends Tiger Woods After Tampon Joke” Golf Monthly, 22 Feb. 2023, https://www.golfmonthly.com/news/suzann-pettersen-defends-tiger-woods-after-tampon-joke

1. “European Solheim Cup captain Suzann Pettersen backs Tiger Woods in tampon row” Daily Mail, 21 Feb. 2023, https://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/golf/article-11777607/European-Solheim-Cup-captain-Suzann-Pettersen-backs-Tiger-Woods-tampon-row.html

2. “LPGA's Suzann Pettersen defends Tiger Woods, believes tampon prank wasn't ‘meant to be offensive in any way'” Fox News, 21 Feb. 2023, https://www.foxnews.com/sports/lpgas-suzann-pettersen-defends-tiger-woods-believes-tampon-prank-wasnt-meant-offensive-any-way

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

4. “Paige Spiranac wants to see Tiger give Mickelson his tampon” Marca, 17 Feb. 2023, https://www.marca.com/en/lifestyle/celebrities/2023/02/17/63efe9ea268e3e3c7e8b45df.html

5. “Suzann Pettersen likens Tiger Woods' tampon prank to a ‘boyish joke'” New York Post , 22 Feb. 2023, https://nypost.com/2023/02/22/suzann-pettersen-says-tiger-woods-tampon-prank-a-boyish-joke