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Controversy Arrives Early

September 27, 2002|Thomas Bonk

SUTTON COLDFIELD, England — Controversy, thy name is ... Tiger?

Tiger Woods--and U.S. captain Curtis Strange--found themselves snared in a mini-controversy, one that seems to have been cooked up by the English media. All Woods did was show up early Thursday and start his practice round at 6:30 a.m. instead of 9, his officially designated time, according to printed Ryder Cup material.

It must have been a slow news day.

Several English journalists peppered Strange with pointed questions in a weirdly contentious news conference, asking him just how Woods could have disappointed fans who'd paid 40 pounds, about $65, to see him play only to miss him in all probability because they didn't know he was playing early.

"I'm sorry if somebody didn't get to see Tiger play," Strange said wearily. "But they'll get to see him play the next three days."

Said Tony Stenson of the Mirror, "And people here have paid 40 pounds a day to watch the world's greatest players [and] for Tiger Woods to slip out of his blanket, to wear his pajamas, to go play a game of golf without the rest of the world seeing him, I don't think that's fair."

Replied Strange, "Are you asking a question or making a statement?"

And so on. Strange was asked 14 questions about Woods showing up early to practice.

"He's not breaking ranks, he is doing what he's allowed to do," Strange said.

You can be sure the tabloids are going to have a field day with this. Suggested headline: "Tiger to Fans: Wake Up!"

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