Tiger Woods has received a mixed reaction after handing Justin Thomas a tampon after outdriving him during the Genesis Invitational.
Woods, who was making his return to top-level action for the first time since July, could be seen handing the product to Thomas as they walked off the ninth tee in the first round.
Thomas immediately threw it on the floor as Woods could be seen laughing as he put his arm around his playing partner.
“If anyone tries to cancel Tiger over this we riot. It’s funny,” Paige Spiranac, a well-known social media influencer, wrote on Twitter.
“I need a LIV vs PGA tour Ryder Cup type event just so Tiger can give Phil (Mickelson) a tampon after out driving him.”
Others were less impressed with Woods’s sense of humour, with renowned sports journalist Rick Reilly writing: “All his humor is gross and tops out at 7th grade.”
Woods was not asked about the incident following his opening round of 69 at Riviera but the third member of his group, world number two Rory McIlroy, admitted he had not enjoyed being outdriven by the 47-year-old.
“I’m going to go work on the range,” McIlroy said after his 67. “I put my driver up a click in loft at the start of the week, I might have to turn it back down again. I don’t like him hitting it by me.”
Woods was recovering from a fifth back surgery when he crashed his car in Los Angeles two days after the Genesis Invitational in February 2021, suffering multiple fractures of his right leg and ankle.
After being sidelined for 14 months, Woods returned to action in the 2022 Masters and made the cut at Augusta National and in the following month’s US PGA Championship, but withdrew following the third round.
The 15-time major winner missed the cut in the Open at St Andrews and had to withdraw from the Hero World Challenge in the first week in December after developing plantar fasciitis in his right foot.
Later that month he did play a made-for-TV exhibition over 12 holes and the PNC Championship with his son Charlie, although in both events he was allowed to ride in a cart.