Learning from Tiger Woods’ Spit? Crazy but True…

Well, Tiger Woods is in the news again. And unfortunately, his recent actions are drawing a great deal of criticism from fans and PGA officials alike.

This incident occurred at at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic this past weekend.  Tiger’s score wasn’t where he wanted it – which okay, can be frustrating.  But it’s his breach of golf etiquette that has people shaking their heads.  Click here for a video of his faux pas on the 12th green.

The European Tour, not particularly pleased at this breach of etiquette, announced Monday that it will be fining Woods an undisclosed sum.

So, are Tiger’s actions warranted?  Is there such a thing as golf etiquette?  Well…yes.  And guess what, there are some leadership lessons here too.

#1 A leader is on stage all the time.
While you may not be a professional athlete who competes before thousands in televised events; but you are on stage to your team and others in the organization at all times.

#2 Split second decisions can reap consequences.
Who knows what, if anything passed through Tiger’s mind before he puckered up to spit on the green? But his actions in that split moment was noticed immediately by other and with negative perception.  For us as leaders, what are those moments that – if we don’t pause and reflect our actions – could also be criticized or worse, create a perception that is not easily corrected?

#3 The point of no return is measured one action at a time.
The headlines say it all, “Tiger is at it again”.  This isn’t the first disappointing story about this talented athlete.  Sadly, with all the winnings and accolades this athlete has earned during his career, most associate him now with a news story in November, 2009 that led to a scandalous revelation of infidelity and deception to his family, friends and fans.  While this story may not seem significant, it highlights another disappointment   Everyone makes mistakes but this seems like “another” one.  The same is true for us.  One lapse in judgment: forgiven.  Two lapses: perhaps forgiven.  But as the list grows so does others’ faith and forgiveness to us and our leadership reputation.

Tiger has apologized. He will be fined and the golf community will move on.  It would be interesting to know how Tiger processes this incident and in turn, behaves in the future.  Time will tell.

2 thoughts on “Learning from Tiger Woods’ Spit? Crazy but True…

  1. Since money is no object for Tiger a more appropiate action would have been for him to wipe up the spit with the same towel he wipes his face with. That would possibly be humbling. He will probably be allowed to direct his fine to a charity as with most sports fines. Since he had spat on another occasion in this same tournament and gotten away with it you have to (as Barney Fife says) “nip it in the bud Andy”. Will Tiger learn from this-I doubt it.

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