Tiger Woods has apologised after being fined for spitting on a green at the Dubai Desert Classic.
The former world number one was found guilty of a breach of the European Tour's code of conduct.
Woods posted on Twitter: “The Euro Tour is right — it was inconsiderate to spit like that and I know better. Just wasn't thinking and want to say I'm sorry.”
The amount of the fine was not made public, but the range for minor breaches of the code is from £250 to £10,000 — small change, of course, for a man who was paid a reported £1.8million to appear in the event. Once he receives notification of the fine Woods has seven days to appeal should he so choose, but on the day that Scot Elliot Saltman decided not to appeal against his three-month ban for incorrectly replacing his ball, golf's biggest star is likely to follow suit.
And perhaps Woods should should count himself lucky if he avoids further punishment in a Dubai court.
Anyone who spits in public in the United Arab Emirates can be fined around £100 — and there was even a government campaign about it three years ago. “Spitting in public areas is something llamas do. You are different — don't spit in public areas,” said one of the advertisements.
Ewen Murray, the lead golf commentator of Sky Sports, drew the attention of viewers to what Woods did close to the 12th hole after missing a par putt.
“You look at his work ethic and he is a credit to the game and an inspiration to all of those who are trying to become professional golfers,” said Murray.
“But there are some parts of him that are just arrogant and petulant. Somebody now has to come behind him and maybe putt over his spit. It does not get much lower than that.”
Murray had also called his spitting on the second tee during the second round “one of the ugliest things you will ever see on a golf course”.
Woods was heard swearing as well as he failed to end almost 15 months without a victory.
Only one shot off the lead entering the final day, the 14-time major champion slumped to 20th spot with a closing 75 — his worst score in a regular European Tour event in his professional career.
Woods has also now gone 17 tournaments without a win for the first time since he left the amateur ranks in 1996.
Murray also criticised Woods for not signing autographs for a group of children after practising on Friday.
Although Woods is not a member of the European Tour he was playing in Dubai as a past champion of the event and therefore subject to the code of conduct.
It states: “On becoming a member of the European Tour each person voluntarily submits himself to standards of behaviour and ethical conduct beyond those required of ordinary golfers and members of the public.
“The European Tour has been the hallmark of honesty, fair dealings, courtesy and sportsmanship and each member is bound to honour and uphold that tradition at all times whether on or off the golf course.
“It would be impossible to define exactly the standard of conduct expected from members in all circumstances or to list all acts which would amount to a breach of the code and lead to disciplinary sanctions.
“In most cases common sense should tell the members the standard of behaviour that is required.”
Woods’ fine comes almost a year after he spoke of the need to “make my behaviour more respectful of the game”.
It was in the wake of the revelations about his serial adultery that Woods delivered a statement last February and spoke about the need to improve his behaviour on the course as well as off it.
Woods next plays in the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship in Arizona next week.
He is scheduled to play Dane Thomas Bjorn — chairman of the European Tour's tournament committee — in the first round.