Golf: Tiger Woods under fire for handing tampon to Justin Thomas during PGA Tour comeback

Golfing icon Tiger Woods has come under fire for a gesture at the PGA Tour's Genesis Invitational, after handing playing partner Justin Thomas a tampon during the opening round of his comeback tournament.

Woods shot a two-under 69 in his first round, making his first start in a competitive event since last July's Open Championship.

But on the ninth hole, as Woods outdrove Thomas, the 47-year-old was spotted handing his partner a tampon in jest. 

Tiger Woods confronts media at Genesis International
Tiger Woods confronts media at Genesis Invitational. Photo credit: Getty Images

In response, Thomas laughed before dropping the tampon on the ground.

On Saturday morning (NZ time), Woods apologised for his actions, labelling it as a prank.

"It was supposed to be fun and games, but it obviously hasn't turned out that way," he 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.

"Virally, this did not come across that way."

Social media has responded both positively and negatively towards Woods, with not everyone seeing it as a joking matter.

"If anyone tries to cancel Tiger over this we riot," tweeted former golfer Paige Spiranac on Twitter. "It's funny."

"To me it was laddy, blokey behaviour," wrote Sky Sports UK presenter Sarah Stir. "Passing him the tampon effectively saying, 'I've outdriven you', 'you're driving the ball like a woman'.

"I'm surprised the most recognisable golfer on the planet has put himself in this position to be exposed in this way."

Outside the Majors, the tournament is Woods' first PGA Tour event since October 2019, after a car crash in 2021 almost saw him lose a leg.