AUGUSTA, Ga. – It’s Moving Day at the Masters, and Tiger Woods moved two shots down the leaderboard before stepping to the first tee.
Woods was penalized two strokes for his ball drop on the 15th hole Friday, turning his 1-under 71 in the second round to a 1-over 73.
Rather than being disqualified for signing an incorrect scorecard, Woods was saved by the “high-definition TV” rule that came into play in 2011. In a statement, Masters officials said the Woods review was “prompted by a television viewer.” The rules committee reviewed the drop while Woods was playing the 18th hole and “determined he had complied with the rules.”
Woods’ disqualification was waived because the committee “made its initial determination prior to the finish of the player’s round.”
On his Twitter account (@TigerWoods), Woods tweeted the following:
“At hole #15, I took a drop that I thought was correct and in accordance with the rules. I was unaware at that time I had violated any rules. I didn’t know I had taken an incorrect drop prior to signing my scorecard. Subsequently, I met with the Masters Committee Saturday morning and was advised they had reviewed the incident prior to the completion of my round. Their initial determination was that there was no violation, but they had additional concerns based on my post-round interview. After discussing the situation with them this morning, I was assessed a two-shot penalty. I understand and accept the penalty and respect the Committees’ decision.”
Woods quickly got one of the strokes back Saturday, making birdie on his first hole of the third round.
Woods took an illegal drop Friday after his third shot on No. 15 hit the flagstick and spun back into the water – a terrible break.
Woods was required to drop “as near as possible” but instead dropped a few feet back from his original spot, later explaining: “I went two yards further back and I took, tried to take, two yards off the shot … It worked out perfectly.”
Woods, who got up-and-down for a bogey-6, is set to tee off at 1:45 p.m. Eastern time, and several in the golf community are wondering if he will opt to disqualify himself.
Golf Channel analyst Brandel Chamblee blasted Woods, calling it “A flagrant rules violation that will follow (Woods) around for the rest of his career. It is incumbent upon him to say he is in violation of (the rule). Anything else, frankly, is unacceptable … That is a clear disqualification.”
CBS and Golf Channel analyst Nick Faldo agreed: “Tiger is the judge and jury on this. He said he moved the ball back two yards to gain the right yardage. The rule clearly states he has to drop it as near as possible. Our rules are black and white: That is a breach of the rules. Simple as that.
“He has to sit down quietly and think about this – the mark this will leave on his career, his legacy.”
By Teddy Greenstein and Brian Hamilton
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