Two Stroke Penalty For Tiger Woods At The Masters
The Masters – The governing body of Augusta National has determined that the ball drop Tiger Woods took in round two on Friday afternoon warrants a two stroke penalty rather than a disqualification as per 33-7 of the USGA.
There was a ton of social media and sports news discussion late Friday night and going into the early morning hours on Saturday that Tiger might possibly be disqualified for improperly signing his score card based primarily on an inaccurate drop of the golf ball on the fifteenth hole after his approach shot ricocheted off the flag stick and into the water. Apparently, Tiger hit the ball too perfectly when he hit the flag stick. The penalty left Woods five strokes behind tournament leader Jason Day.
Fred Ridley, chairman of The Masters competition committee released the following statement:
- “In preparation for his fifth shot, the player dropped his ball in close proximity to where he had played his third shot in apparent conformance with Rule 26. After being prompted by a television viewer, the Rules Committee reviewed a video of the shot while Woods was playing the 18th hole. At that moment and based on that evidence, the Committee determined he had complied with the Rules.
- After he signed his scorecard, and in a television interview subsequent to the round, the player stated that he played further from the point than where he had played his third shot. Such action would constitute playing from the wrong place.
- The subsequent information provided by the player’s interview after he had completed play warranted further review and discussion with him this morning. After meeting with the player, it was determined that he had violated Rule 26, and he was assessed a two stroke penalty. The penalty of disqualification was waived by the Committee under Rule 33 as the Committee had previously reviewed the information and made its initial determination prior to the finish of the player’s round”.
Looking at the rule book, USGA Rule 33-7 reveals that a penalty of disqualification can be waived in exceptional situations. The penalty can be waived, altered or enforced if the Committee thinks such a penalty is warranted.
This is what seems to have unfolded in this case. Somebody viewing the tournament on t.v. evidently called it in to The Augusta National Rules Officials who at the time said Tiger was in conformance before he finished his round Friday afternoon.
Subsequent to that ruling, in a post round media interview, Tiger altered his own fate by disclosing that he actually took the drop two yards farther back than his original shot which gave him a more suitable yardage.
So of course the officials had to reopen the investigation. Due to the fact they had previously ruled he was correct taking his drop they didn’t feel it was appropriate to disqualify him from the tournament .
According to the rules Tiger could have taken a drop behind the point of entry in to the water hazard or from the spot he played the original shot, none closer to the hole.
Woods attempted to perform neither of the two rules interpretations. By misinterpreting the “none closer to the hole” rule Tiger knocked himself two strokes further off the lead by altering the distance of his next shot. Truth be told, if Tiger hit the ball a little less perfectly he could have been one stroke off the lead coming into “Moving Up Day”.
Tiger now sits at one under for the tournament, five strokes behind Jason Day who is at six under. Day is clinging to a one stroke lead over fan favorite Fred Couples. The fifty-three year old Couples seems to show no signs of father time catching up to him whenever he plays at The Masters. If Couples wins he will be the oldest player to ever win The Masters. It will be interesting to see if Woods, who already has three wins this year can mount a comeback starting today.
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