Tiger Woods has apologized for a "prank" on the golf course that didn't elicit many laughs. On Thursday, at the Genesis Invitational in Pacific Palisades, California, Woods handed a Tampax tampon to fellow golfer Justin Thomas during the first round of play after Woods hit farther than Thomas on the ninth tee.
"It was supposed to be fun and games, but obviously, it hasn't turned out that way," he said. "If I offended anybody, it was not the case. It was just friends having fun and as I said, if I offended anybody in any way, shape, or form, I'm sorry. It was not intended to be that way. We play pranks on one another all the time and virally, I do not think this came across that way, but between us, it was different."
In footage of the interaction, Thomas seemed to laugh off the joke; however, after the photos started to go viral on Friday, some chimed in online that the joke seemed to imply that menstruating people are weaker than non-menstruating people.
Jennifer Gunter, author of The Vagina Bible and an outspoken social media user on false health information, tweeted that it was a "stale joke."
"Positioning menstruation as weakness is the patriarchy and this is a puerile, stale joke," Gunter tweeted. "Let’s put the menstrual cramp machine on Tiger Woods so he can have some more data about menstruation."
In a follow-up tweet, Gunter said, "Those of you rushing to defend this are exposing your misogyny."
Another user tweeted on Friday, "if tiger spent three months a year bleeding and coping with period pain, they'd make a whole-ass documentary about how champions overcome insurmountable obstacles."
"Call me woke," a Twitter user tweeted. "Call me a snowflake. Call me 'offended'. Whatever. But handing another male golfer a tampon is objectively not funny. It shows the sophistication of a 14 year old schoolboy."
Athletes and sports personalities joking that women and menstruating people are weaker is nothing new. In 2016, former basketball player Charles Barkley called the Golden State Warriors' playing style “little girly basketball.” The year before, ESPN anchor Stephen A. Smith said German players at the Women's World Cup let Norway score a goal because "they might not have wanted to mess their hair up." Smith later apologized for his comment.