Hank Gola Leaves The YardS

It was bound to happen eventually that a blushing sportswriter would pick up his crayons and write something about Tiger Woods so egregiously stupid that it'd make Mark Whicker look like Grantland Rice. Take it away, Hank Gola.

While conspicuous silence continues to emanate from [Tim] Finchem's Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., headquarters, the time is coming for him to address whether Woods - the face of the PGA Tour - should be suspended for conduct unbecoming a professional.

Suspending Woods is reasonable and it's right.

As Woods refuses to fully address the scandal, the vacuum is being filled by more tawdry stories every day, especially now that gossip outlets are paying for them. Woods admits only to "transgressions," which makes it sound as if he could enter a confessional and be absolved after five Hail Marys. By not refuting the endless allegations, however, he makes them all seem irrefutable. Who knows what's true, where it will lead and when it will finally bottom out?

When it does, Finchem has to call Woods into the principal's office, give him his fair hearing and, if his actions are as shameful as purported, suspend him.

Rick Reilly's "Hints from Heloise" bit was bad enough in all its patrician smarminess. To that, Gola's column adds such an air of queasy Victorian indignation that one wonders how he can write and clutch his pearls at the same time. Which is to say that Hank Gola has managed the feat of making not just Mark Whicker but Rick Reilly look good.

You want more? How about the part where he dips into the majestic plural?

We realize this isn't Pacman Jones being involved in gunplay violence at a strip club. And let's be realistic. The percentage of players who have cheated on their wives might make Ted Williams' lifetime batting average look like the Mendoza line.

Just to clarify: He's saying 80 percent (or whatever) makes 34 percent look like 20 percent.

Had Woods simply strayed, or even hit a few nightclubs, it would be disappointing but no big deal or real surprise.

But that's not the case. We're beyond reasonable behavior with Woods. He's coming across like a horny teenager. There has been the "sexting." Nude photos are purported to be next. Then there are the unsubstantiated allegations of drug use and pay for sex. Finchem said recently that recreational drug use, when discovered through the Tour's new testing policy, is considered "conduct unbecoming." So . . . ?

What's more incredible: that Hank Gola thinks that acting like a horny teenager is "beyond reasonable behavior," or that Hank Gola seems to think this is how horny teenagers behave, or that Hank Gola just wrote the sentence, "There has been the 'sexting'"?

Nothing, however, can top the following line:

As the most revered athlete of his generation, Woods has been toppled from his pedestal like Saddam Hussein's statue in Baghdad.

I can play, too! With this sentence, Hank Gola just shot himself in the face like Hitler. He executed his own column and hung it upside down like Mussolini. His prose just succumbed to either Parkinson's or motor neuron disease like Mao.

Congratulations, Hank. You've left the yard.

Drawing of Tiger Woods as a Nazi ballerina (yeah, I have no idea, either) via Flickr

PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem must step up and ban Tiger Woods [New York Daily News, via @WhitlockJason]