In a show of goodwill, Tiger Woods visited Thailand, the native country of his mother Kultida Woods, for the first time in ten years, and played in the “World Golf Salutes King Bhumibol” charity skins tournament, with Camilo Villegas, Paul Casey and Thongchai Jaidee, on Monday. Woods was mic’ed up for the event (hope there was a bleep-delay!), but unfortunately, he didn’t give the enthusiastic crowd much of a show on the golf course.
Woods only picked up one skin and $6,600 of the total $900,000 in prize money donated to Thai King Bhumibol Adulyadej’s charity foundation. Villegas won the most money, earning five skins for $109,800. Casey collected nine skins for $92,400. Thai hero Jaidee three skins for 90,000.
When Woods arrived in Thailand on Monday morning, he popped by the hospital to pay his respects to the ailing 82-year-old king. Tiger didn’t get to meet him in person, but he signed a get-well book.
The Thais are very fond of Tiger because of his mother’s heritage. Apparently Tiger made a Thai custom faux pas when he met the Prime Minister, though:
The golfer displayed his American side by shaking hands with Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva and ignoring the leader’s “wai,” the traditional Thai greeting of palms pressed together with a head bow that is a sign of humility and respect.
Dressed in a grey blazer and black trousers, Woods and Thongchai, Thailand’s top player, presented Abhisit with a golf club during a brief meeting at his office, the Government House.
The golfers handed Abhisit a check for 2.2 million baht (C$74,4200) from ticket sales they are donating to the victims of recent floods that left more than 100 people dead.
Despite Tiger’s disappointing performance, he said it was “great being back” in Thailand. I’m sure he won some brownie points from mom, who unfortunately couldn’t attend due to health problems, too.
(AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)