Tiger joins Padraig ovation
TIGER WOODS arose and joined the lengthy standing ovation given to Padraig Harrington at the American Golf Writers annual awards banquet in Augusta on Wednesday night.
In a break with his practice of recent years, Woods stayed on for an hour after receiving the 2009 Player of the Year award to applaud fellow recipients.
Harrington, Player of the Year in 2008, brought the hall to its feet with an amusing 10-minute address with serious undertones.
The Dubliner was collecting the Jim Murray ASAP award, given to the player voted by the American golf writers as the most cooperative on Tour and he spoke of the importance for players to develop a mutually respectful relationship with the press. Noting a trend in which some young players are warned by advisors to be wary of the press, he insisted "something had to be done" to correct this, adding: "We need you guys. We have to build and maintain a relationship with the media. It's essential for the game."
American Golf Writers chairman Vartan Kupelian was so impressed, he quipped: "We'll have to invent a new award, if necessary, to get Padraig back to speak to us every year."
Tiger might have skipped Wednesday's Masters Par-3 competition, but resumed this week's charm offensive by staying longer than the usual few minutes at the dinner.
In a short speech, he said: "I'll stick to golf...it's pretty cool to be back here playing at the Masters. I missed this."