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Saturday, June 6, 2009
Tiger supports golf's sportsmanship

Associated Press

DUBLIN, Ohio -- Tiger Woods isn't likely to storm off the 18th green on Sunday if he doesn't win the Memorial Tournament.

Woods was asked earlier this week whether athletes should shake hands after a competition. Cleveland Cavaliers star LeBron James was criticized when he did not shake hands with Orlando Magic players after losing in Game 6 of the NBA's Eastern Conference Finals.

Woods, who attended some of the games in his hometown of Orlando, is a huge sports fan. He tried to put the controversy in historical perspective.

"Well, if you look at it, not everyone shakes hands after every game," he said. "Football, a lot of guys just walk off the field. A lot of sports, they walk off the court or field. Hockey, they line up. It's tradition. And it's part of our sport, the tradition of taking the hat off and shaking hands.

"The history of our game is about sportsmanship. We call penalties on ourselves. I don't see anybody in the NFL saying, 'I'm sorry. I held the guy. Give me 10 yards.' That doesn't happen.

"But I think that what separates our sport from other sports is just the traditions of the sportsmanship, when you doff your cap and shake someone's hand and look them in the eyes and say, 'Well done.'"

Woods said he was rooting for the favorite team of his youth (the Los Angeles Lakers) over the Magic in the NBA Finals.

"I live in Orlando and root for the Magic, but I'm from L.A.," he said. "I grew up watching Magic [Johnson], Kareem [Abdul-Jabbar] and [James] Worthy and Byron [Scott] and all those teams. Before that, [Bob] McAdoo and [Norm] Nixon, you name it. It's hard, but I'm from L.A."