Tiger Woods’ Tampon Prank Sparks Controversy and Debate

Tiger Woods has recently found himself in the middle of controversy after a prank he pulled on fellow golfer Justin Thomas at the Genesis Invitational.[0] Woods handed Thomas a tampon after outdriving him, sparking criticism from many, including the CEO of the Women's Global Empowerment Fund, who called his joke “misogynistic” and “straight-up disrespectful to women and girls all over the world.”

Woods was playing in his first tournament since The Open Championship last July, and he made the cut at the Genesis Invitational.[1] After the first round, Woods was asked about the joke and was forced to apologize for the controversy it caused.[2] He said, “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.”[3]

Many were quick to criticize Woods on social media, with one post saying, “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] Another complained, “It’s interesting to see women outraged by Tiger slipping JT a tampon after out driving him but those same women will quickly tear me down for how I’ve decided to build my business. You can’t pick and choose when to be a feminist.”[5]

USA Today columnist Christine Brennan wrote, “Woods’ message to Thomas was obvious. It has been the go-to line of silly, often insecure boys for generations: ‘You play like a girl’.”[6] She added, “I’m guessing most of the millions of fathers and mothers who support their athletic daughters probably have long since retired all their juvenile pranks that were intended to demean the ability of those girls they love and for whom they spend so much time cheering.”[7]

Political commentator and author Nick Adams tweeted in Woods' defense, “Anyone offended by Tiger Woods handing Justin Thomas a tampon as a practical joke should seek mental help.[8] It's a funny joke between men on the golf course.[9]

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 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

2. “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

3. “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

4. “Tiger Woods apologises after handing tampon to Justin Thomas as a prank” The Guardian, 17 Feb. 2023, https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2023/feb/17/tiger-woods-hands-tampon-to-justin-thomas-golf-genesis-invitational

5. “Paige Spiranac Vigorously Defends Tiger Woods' Tampon Stunt” OutKick , 18 Feb. 2023, https://www.outkick.com/paige-spiranac-tiger-woods-tampon-double-standard-reaction/

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

7. “Really, Tiger? You're a 47-year-old ‘girl dad' but thought tampon stunt would be funny? | Opinion” USA TODAY, 17 Feb. 2023, https://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/columnist/brennan/2023/02/17/tiger-woods-47-year-old-girl-dad-tampon-stunt-misogyny/11280061002/

8. “Tiger Woods forced to apologise for controversial moment” Sky News Australia, 18 Feb. 2023, https://www.skynews.com.au/australia-news/sport/tiger-woods-force-to-apologise-for-prank-of-handing-justin-thomas-a-tampon-after-he-outdrove-his-younger-competitor/news-story/5fcd9608ea1a124f00f0c2d1bf49cc79

9. “Tiger Woods apologizes for ‘prank' during Genesis Invitational in Pacific Palisades” WLS-TV, 19 Feb. 2023, https://abc7chicago.com/tiger-woods-prank-apology-justin-thomas/12837265