There were a couple of uncomfortable moments in the Tiger Woods press conference today as the standing room only assemblage of inkslingers served and volleyed at St. Andrews. Interestingly, all personal life questions were posed with a wee bit of how shall I say it? No accent...if you live in these parts.
Q. Tom Watson has said you need to clean up your act on the golf course. He's gone on record. Many of us over the years have heard you use the F word, we've seen you spit on the course, and we've seen you throw tantrums like chucking your clubs around. Are you willing to cut out all those tantrums this week and respect the home of golf?
TIGER WOODS: I'm trying to become a better player and a better person, yes.
Q. Your public image has been transformed in the last year or two. Does it bother you what the public at large thinks of you?
TIGER WOODS: Well, most of the people have been fantastic. The places that I've played and the people that have come up to me have been great. As I said, most of the people have been so respectful over the years here, and I wouldn't see anything different.
Q. Would it bother you if there was a perception of you as a different sort of person now?
TIGER WOODS: Hey, it's their opinion. Everyone is entitled to their opinion.
And this pointed question on Dr. Spaceman Galea.
Q. I understand that you had a two‑hour interview with the FBI a couple weeks ago. Can you confirm that was the case?
TIGER WOODS: That was the case, yes.
Q. And are you able to go into any details as to why they specifically wished to speak to you? And also why you felt it necessary to use a doctor from out of the United States, who apparently is not registered to ‑‑
TIGER WOODS: Well, I can't go into any of that because of the fact that it's an open case so far. So that's an ongoing case, so I can't comment.
The real news out of the session, besides six holes now being grassed at his Dubai project (what a relief!), was the revelation that Tiger may abandon the same putter he's used for all major wins this week due to greens he said are Stimping under 9.
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, I've always been tempted to change my putter on slower greens, and as I said earlier to Steve, I've always struggled when greens are really slow. My stroke has always been, even from when I was a junior golfer, was built in ‑‑ I always feel more comfortable when the greens get quick. Some of my best putting rounds were when the greens were running at 14 or something like that on the stimp like at Memorial. I feel so comfortable on those type of greens.
But on slower greens, I've always had a hard time. I've always experimented with other putters throughout the years, but I've never put one in play until now.
****Mark Reason's analysis is captivating though he may be reading a bit more into this than necessary!
The opening two questions were asked by Americans and they were softballs. A relieved Woods welcomed them on first-name terms.
BBC 5 Live's Iain Carter then brought up Woods's reduced public image and wondered if St Andrews offered a Road Hole to redemption. Woods gave that the full headlights on beam. The smile was flicked on. He said: "I would like to win no matter what."
A couple of questions later came the first fastball. London press agency man Dick Turner asked: "Tom Watson has said you need to clean up your image on the golf course. Many of us have heard you use the 'F' word, we've seen you spit, we've seen you throw tantrums like chucking your clubs. Are you willing to cut out all those tantrums and respect the home of golf?"
Woods said: "I'm trying to become a better player and a better person."
Then he said his prayers and went to bed. Baby Buddha did not have a lot to say to us, but the media pressed on regardless. How much work did he have to do to rebuild his reputation? Rewind, press play: "Just trying to become a better person."