FanDuel - WFBC

April 11, 2006

Different Strokes for Different Folks: Tiger Woods called himself a "spaz" after his poor putting in the final round of The Masters Sunday, a word that's playing very badly outside the U.S. He's been condemned by the Australian Spastic Centre, paralympian Tanni Grey Thompson and the British charity Scope, whose spokesperson said, "Although in the U.S. the term 'spaz' may not be as offensive as in the U.K., many people will have taken exception to linking a poor golf stroke to a spastic."

posted by rcade to golf at 01:21 PM - 60 comments

See, if he'd just called himself a c*nt, then no one would have even noticed. (Kidding, I'm kidding.) This is one of the few downsides to being Tiger Woods. Every single thing he says is dissected like it was on Side Two of the White Album, and letting his guard down within earshot of a microphone, even for a moment, is an invitation to piss someone off somewhere. I have no doubt he didn't mean to offend anyone; in fact, I suspect he's done some charity work (or at least cut a check or two through his foundation) to help these very people. He might be the world's most famous athlete, but there's a guy in there, who in a moment of frustration said something he maybe could have phrased better. This is a very fixable problem. A public apology, an extra appearance or two at an event next time he's in the UK & Australia, and everybody wins, or at least doesn't lose too much.

posted by chicobangs at 01:38 PM on April 11

That's retarded. (don't send me your hate mail...kidding you know). What the hell is a disablism? Is that like racism and shit, but for disability? Never heard that one before and I've been around folks with disabilities plenty. Maybe I'm the only one who hasn't heard of that though?

posted by chris2sy at 01:41 PM on April 11

Sped.

posted by yerfatma at 01:46 PM on April 11

I hear if you play the White Album backwards you hear "Phil is 5 shots back..."

posted by lilnemo at 01:56 PM on April 11

I'm sure after the barrage of ridiculous debate that this will elicit that we can expect much more candid comments from Tiger. Or not. Cue three more years of terrible sports interview cliches.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 02:05 PM on April 11

How funny is it that spazs are spazzing out over spaz? If I recall, it was one of those enlightened folks from abroad who feared the watermelon and fried chicken dinner after Tiger's Masters win, so touche.

posted by pivo at 02:10 PM on April 11

I especially like how you can post a comment to the site but only after the editor peruses it first. Damn Brits! (I kid!)

posted by willthrill72 at 02:26 PM on April 11

Tiger did not mean anything derogatory or belittling by his remark. He did putt poorly by his standards. Tiger is extremely tough on himself. In my estimation, Tiger will probably go down in history as one of the greatest americans ever. Some people are very small minded. Hell, Tiger's probably on the putting green now, practicing.

posted by merut at 02:29 PM on April 11

What does being a great golfer have to do with being a great American?

posted by rcade at 02:36 PM on April 11

Ask the Tiger Woods monument that they will be erecting in front of the White House. Fuzzy Zoeller isn't really from abroad is he?

posted by chris2sy at 02:40 PM on April 11

Fuzzy Zoeller isn't really from abroad is he? How dare you call Fuzzy's mom a broad?

posted by billsaysthis at 03:01 PM on April 11

Being a great golfer has nothing to do with being a great american. Look a little deeper into what Tiger has done. His charities and his work with kids of all races. I believe he is doing a lot of great things for the youth.

posted by merut at 03:04 PM on April 11

Being a disabled person (I have muscular dystrophy), I admit that I do find the word a little offensive, but I'm willing to cut Tiger a little slack here... Like merut says, I can't even begin to imagine how much good work he does for charity, so I really don't think he would have said it in a deliberately degoratory way. When you have everything you ever say recorded, transcribed and scrutinised by the world's press, I guess it's easy to make a slip-up once every few years.

posted by afx237vi at 03:25 PM on April 11

What? Being a great golfer IS being a great American. Just like being an actor means you're a great American and should be elected into office. Next up - Senator Predator? (Govenor Carl Weathers is a LOCK.) In Canada, it's different. You have to be a great hockey player to acheive any of this. That's why we're morally superior. Feel the smug, people, feeeeeel it.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 03:26 PM on April 11

Wendy: Tripper, I'm looking forward to some action this summer. I hope you can supply it. Tripper: I'll supply it for you, but the guy you gotta watch out for is Spaz! Wendy: Spaz? Tripper: He's a sex machine. Wendy: He couldn't wake me up with a trumpet and a drum! Tripper: Well I went out with him one night and he got off six nurses by himself, and four of them couldn't report to work the next morning!

posted by grum@work at 03:27 PM on April 11

Besides, for some reason I find the word "spastic" a lot more offensive than "spaz". I have no idea whether these things are offensive outside the UK. I always found it really weird how Americans still refer to the "Special Olympics" whereas the rest of the world refers to it as the Paralympic. I mean, special? How fucking patronising is that?

posted by afx237vi at 03:30 PM on April 11

In Canada, it's different. You have to be a great hockey player to acheive any of this. That's why we're morally superior. Feel the smug, people, feeeeeel it. Yes Weedy, we got a whiff o' the smug. Image hosting by Photobucket

posted by lilnemo at 03:36 PM on April 11

did anyone hear what freddie called himself after his great display of putting.

posted by cocco at 03:36 PM on April 11

No it's not Homicide . It's a common form of suicide to Bit** slap one's self to death .

posted by alvinthefirst at 05:10 PM on April 11

I always found it really weird how Americans still refer to the "Special Olympics" whereas the rest of the world refers to it as the Paralympic. I mean, special? How fucking patronising is that? afx237vi, they are two totally different events. Trust me, Americans dont even understand this. The Special Olympics is an international nonprofit organization* dedicated to empowering individuals with intellectual disabilities to become physically fit, productive and respected members of society through sports training and competition. While the paralympics is for the physically disabled. IE paraplegics, amputees, etc. As a paraplegic I do volunteer work for the special olympics and field this mis-conception all the time. And for Tiger and the word spaz...Well im as guilty as he is if it is offensive. My legs "spasm" day and night but the word is not at all offinsive to me. just dont fucking call me Handicappable, that I hate

posted by Folkways at 05:19 PM on April 11

He's been condemned by the Australian Spastic Centre, paralympian Tanni Grey Thompson and the British charity Scope I really don't think this has a much to do with Tiger being offensive as it does the exploitation of his name for cheap publicity.

posted by panteeze at 05:34 PM on April 11

In Canada, it's different. You have to be a great hockey player to acheive any of this. That's why we're morally superior. Feel the smug, people, feeeeeel it. LMAO Weedy! Guess Mike Weihr has the green light to say whatever he wants.

posted by panteeze at 05:37 PM on April 11

Fuzzy Zoeller isn't really from abroad is he? He sure isn't from aguy so he must be from abroad.

posted by panteeze at 05:38 PM on April 11

OK, this thread got to me. It strikes a nerve when the media blows things way out of proportion. SPAZ from Websters: Domain: Slang Definition: adjective. Source: From the word Spastic. Definition: Someone having spasms. Context: Used in speeches when people refer to others as being uncontrollably enerjetic. Social Source: Bend High School Class of 1999-2000 . Source: Compiled by The University of Oregon. (additional references) In my opinion, Tiger's description of his play last Sunday was accurate. Give the guy a break!

posted by panteeze at 06:00 PM on April 11

Trust me, Americans dont even understand this....As a paraplegic I do volunteer work for the special olympics and field this mis-conception all the time. The difference between the two can also be learned from watching the movie Murderball.

posted by chris2sy at 06:10 PM on April 11

What??? No defense of Woods from Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson, et al? Not yet, at least. I'm sure they could come up with a justification of such a moronic comment just as they played up the Fuzzy Zoeller situation.

posted by joromu at 06:49 PM on April 11

Nice University of Oregon reference up there... go figure... I mean Go Ducks. As for the word spastic, I think its important to increase your knowledge of the types of words that do offend people, but at the same time, when there is a vernacular difference, as there obviously is here, people need to appreciate that. I'm sure that Tiger has learned a lesson' I bet we wont be hearing spaz out of his mouth any time soon. As for letting him off the hook completely... I don't know about that. 20 years ago, people used the word retard pretty freely, and some still do today. I tend to look at those people as slighlty ignorant, so where as it may not be the exact same thing, there is certainly some room to think.

posted by everett at 07:20 PM on April 11

I am not one known for being politically correct at all times. That being said, there ARE words that people use without thinking about, or knowing, that they may be offensive to others. "Welshing" on a bet, calling something that is seen as a rip-off a "gip" (bastardized from "gyp"), "jerry"-rigging something to fix it temporarily, these are a few examples. One would hope that Tiger will realize that what he said WAS offensive to some and issue the appropriate apologies, and one hopes that those that took offense give him the benefit of the doubt and accept the apology, at least until it is shown if he is recalcitrant and continues to use the word.

posted by elovrich at 07:37 PM on April 11

WTF? The whole "gyp = gypsy" etymology is in dispute. This link re: gyp also mentions "welsh", which is the second (after yours) time I've ever heard it used. I think the more common expression is "welch", which may or may not be a corruption of Welsh. Never heard "jerry-rig"; worse for me, it's apparently different from "jury-rig". Can't remember Germans ever being stereotyped as doing things half-assed. See the period 1936-1945, inclusive.

posted by yerfatma at 08:06 PM on April 11

I read the article about Gyp - Gypsy, and it seems like it is a pretty clear correlation. As for the intent of the comment.... I'm not sure the intent is as important as the feelings that actually get hurt as a result of the comment.

posted by everett at 08:23 PM on April 11

yerfatma, The fact that gyp, welsh (or welch), jerry-rig, and all of the other examples that are extant, are used without realizing the etymology of the word is exactly the reason why the PC crowd takes up arms over them. They may be seen as pejorative by those most likely to be offended, and continue to be used, innocently in a vast majority of the cases, by the public at large; much like spaz was in this case, most likely. That is the reason I would come to the defense of Tiger. He was most likely unaware, at least on the concious level, of the fact that he may have offended anyone. So much of the connotations behind words that are labeled "pejorative" is subjective that one may mean one thing and someone will take something else from it. The prime example in sports is, of course, team mascots. While the etymology of jerry-rig is in dispute, the American Heritage dictionary states that it derives from jury-rig (non-offensive and from the Old French, meaning 'aider') but was probably influenced by 'jerry-built' coming from the noun Jerry, which the American Heritage also lists as chiefly British slang for German, esp. German soldier. As for the link about the dispute of the origin of 'gyp', even the link seems to come down on the side of its being pejorative. Regardless, I hope that this is something that ends up being a non-news item, as Tiger most certainly did not mean to be offensive. (as an aside, Wikipedia lists among its redirected links for jury-rig a term that seems to be cleansed from something that IS patently offensive, the cleansed term being 'ghetto engineering)

posted by elovrich at 08:37 PM on April 11

I really don't think this has a much to do with Tiger being offensive as it does the exploitation of his name for cheap publicity. Scope used to be known as the Spastic Society. They changed the name to get away from a word that's become increasingly distasteful to people afflicted with the condition. I don't think this is exploitive at all. "Spaz" just hits harder outside the U.S., and I'm guessing it will join "tard" and "retard" as words that most people avoid.

posted by rcade at 09:07 PM on April 11

It's getting to the point you can't say anything to anyone without pissing someone off. Ease up people.

posted by dbt302 at 09:58 PM on April 11

I'm from New York. We don't avoid any words here. If I called myself a Dick ummmm will it stand up?

posted by doggstarr at 10:36 PM on April 11

what he should have said is that he putted like a person whose muscular dexterity is challenged.

posted by joecab at 11:06 PM on April 11

what he should have also said is that he putted like a guy who chokes in majors when he is behind going into the last round...0-35

posted by joecab at 11:06 PM on April 11

It's getting to the point you can't say anything to anyone without pissing someone off. Ease up people. There are over a million words in the English language, with dozens more being made up or added from other languages every day. I wouldn't worry about losing the ability to express yourself if a word or two falls into disfavor.

posted by chicobangs at 12:15 AM on April 12

I bet Tiger was pissed when he missed those putts.

posted by BullpenPro at 12:26 AM on April 12

I think Tiger should just start making up words to see who he can offend that way. Here, I'll start him off, "I played like a scog today" and "My putts were rackling me down today". Or he could just start making up gibberish. This is ridiculous and I hope Tiger couldn't give the first shit about it.

posted by fenriq at 12:33 AM on April 12

To me there is a bigger issue here than Tiger's utterance of the word "spaz". The issue being various media entities intentionally opted to either omit "spaz" from their story or they requested Tiger to provide an alternative quote. Isn't the media supposed to report the whole story objectively?

posted by panteeze at 02:34 AM on April 12

So would the 'world' have been happier if he would have said, "I putted like shit out there today" which is what we all think he WANTED to say?

posted by theshlup at 08:09 AM on April 12

First, I think it is harsh for the international community to criticize Tiger for his use of a word that is not widely considered offensive in the U.S, even if it is so elsewhere. I had no idea that spaz could be offensive to people with disabilities and Tiger probably didn't either. Second, now that we are aware that it is offensive, there is no excuse for continuing to use it.

posted by bperk at 08:41 AM on April 12

A Scope spokesflack explains why they take offense at the word spaz: "We shouldn't limit people's horizons by continuing to use the nasty labels of the past. The low expectations that the term 'spaz' conveys are something that undermine young disabled people's hopes from a very early age." Woods apologized quickly. I think the international publicity that this had generated will probably be helpful in sticking a fork in the word.

posted by rcade at 08:56 AM on April 12

I think the international publicity that this had generated will probably be helpful in sticking a fork in the word. That's probably why he did it. You'll see - next week, he'll be claiming he putted like a cheese-eating surrender monkey, just to try and stop people bandying that expression about so much.

posted by JJ at 10:36 AM on April 12

Isn't the media supposed to report the whole story objectively? I fell out of my chair laughing at this one. The media stopped reporting objectively a long time ago. Every story is slanted these days.

posted by stofer71 at 11:17 AM on April 12

Every story is slanted these days. Says you...

posted by JJ at 11:22 AM on April 12

Says you... Indeed. I realized right after I posted that someone would jump on my sweeping generalization of journalists. The sad fact is that 'newsertainment' has broken my trust in the media. I read every story with a pile of salt these days.

posted by stofer71 at 11:31 AM on April 12

Curious ... do Brits still call cigarettes "fags"?

posted by littleLebowski at 12:11 PM on April 12

Yeah. That has to stop, too. I mean - you're offending a whole buncha people an ocean away. And the Aussies, well, we should listen to them; the bastion of tolerance and good graces that they are. Or maybe this whole thing is yet another example of my seminal Masters work: "The Earth is Stupid." Seriously - extraterrestrial intelligence, if you're out there, just bypass the blue marble. Save some time. The micro-baterial folk on Mars might be less annoying, I don't know. They seem to be avoiding us too.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 12:54 PM on April 12

You gotta start out with a whisper and after a few minutes your yellin out spaz at his next tournament the fans should do it and he'll miss the putt just like the real spaz did in meatballs but spaz just dropped the egg on the spoon damn they didn't win that part of the competition

posted by luther70 at 02:45 PM on April 12

Actually, someone whacked the guy with the sligshot, who mistakenly hit Spaz's opponent, and I believe it was the glass-stacking relay...

posted by ajaffe at 03:33 PM on April 12

wankers.

posted by Desert Dog at 04:34 PM on April 12

Tiger putted like a wanker

posted by JJ at 05:09 PM on April 12

it's more like Tiger putted like a Tard

posted by airman at 05:20 PM on April 12

I can't bear it anymore. Everytime I see the title of this tread I just have to say it so here it goes. Whatever floats your boat. Yes I know that had no value what so ever but that phrase entered my head everytime I saw the title so I had to say it.

posted by Ying Yang Mafia at 05:21 PM on April 12

Who cares what the British or the Austrailians think!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

posted by Wellsville at 06:06 PM on April 12

SPAZ SPAZ SPAZ!!! Yes I can say that, I'm in the early stages of parkinsons and was not offended with TIGER saying that. If the Brits and Aussies don't like it they can kiss my spastic behind.

posted by what the? at 06:36 PM on April 12

Poor Tiger. What a terrible predicament for our favorite media darling and multimillionaire. I hope he can overcome this harsh criticism. Maybe he can sleep better knowing that: 1) The media is stupid 2) He's got the cabbage to produce a music video to make "Spaz" socially acceptable. I.e: "Phat" or "Stuupid". 3) As long as he wins...he's our hero! I think he'll rise above it. After all...he's a golf-god. and chick's dig the "Long Ball"!!!

posted by True Blue at 08:56 PM on April 12

I think "wanker" should actually be acceptable. We don't have a separate Olympics for chronic masturbators, do we? Uh, do we?

posted by chicobangs at 01:13 AM on April 13

I've been hitting the long ball for years, but have found the chicks surprisingly unreceptive. *hand in the air* Can I make a joke about the stiffness of the shaft in my driver now?

posted by JJ at 04:50 AM on April 13

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