April 13, 2006

Woods apologizes for spaz reference

By Mark Lamport-Stokes

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Tiger Woods has apologized for
comments he made during a television interview after the U.S.
Masters at Augusta National Golf Club on Sunday.

The American world number one, who tied for third place
three strokes behind winner Phil Mickelson, was criticized for
using the term "spaz" to describe his poor putting in the final

"Tiger meant nothing derogatory to any person or persons
and apologizes for any offence caused," Woods's agent Mark
Steinberg said in a statement issued on the player's official

Bidding for a fifth green jacket at Augusta, Woods produced
a display of uncharacteristically shaky putting on his way to a
closing two-under-par 70.

He took 33 putts in the final round, including three
three-putts and a pair of missed eagle putts from inside 10
feet on the back nine. Mickelson took 29 putts in a closing 69.

When asked about his play on the last day at Augusta, Woods
replied: "I putted atrociously today. Once I got on the greens,
I was a spaz."

In several countries, "spaz" is an offensive term for
people affected with spastic paralysis, a form of cerebral

Britain-based disability organization Scope, formerly The
Spastics Society, said of Woods's comments: "Once again, Tiger
Woods demonstrates that we are two nations divided by a common

"Although in the U.S. the term "spaz" may not be as
offensive as it is here in the UK, many disabled people here
will have taken exception to his likening a golf stroke to that
of 'a spaz'.

"UK disability charity Scope is confident that Tiger Woods
would be devastated to learn that something he said could
offend his fans, disabled or non-disabled."

Wood's remark drew little attention in the U.S. where
"spaz" is a slang term for someone considered clumsy or inept.