Tiger Woods addresses drop controversy at the Masters
Tiger Woods avoided disqualification at the Masters on Saturday morning after the Augusta National rules committee determined that he committed a violation with his drop on the 15th hole during the second round of the tournament. Woods was assessed a two-stroke penalty, as it was determined that he did not knowingly break a rule and was not aware that he had done so when he signed his scorecard on Friday.
On Saturday morning, Woods (or his publicists) took to Twitter to respond to the ruling.
“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,” Tiger wrote. “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.”
Tiger’s score moved from 3-under to 1-under as a result of the penalty, and he entered Saturday five strokes behind leader Jason Day. He has been allowed to continue playing, but many feel that Woods should withdraw now that he has broken a rule and the integrity of the tournament is at stake.
“I think the onus is on Tiger Woods,” the Golf Channel’s Brandel Chamblee said. “I think that under these interpretations that the rules committee believes that they have done their job and applied the rules in a fashion according to what is stated in the rule book. And I do believe that the onus is on Tiger Woods to come forward and do the right (by withdrawing).
“If he wins this golf tournament by a shot, does he want to win this golf tournament by a shot like that?”
Chamblee went on to say that Woods knowingly broke the rule and that backing the ball up helped him save his bogey. Tiger did admit in an interview on Friday that he dropped the ball “two yards” behind his initial shot, but it’s probably safe to assume he didn’t realize he had broken a rule if he was willing to casually admit it like that.
In past years, Tiger would have automatically been disqualified for signing an illegal scorecard. A rule change in 2012 made it so players can continue playing in a tournament after violating a rule if it is determined that they did not do so knowingly.
ESPN’s panel of analysts, which includes golf expert Andy North, seemed to agree that the two-shot penalty is fair and that there is no need for Tiger to be eliminated from the field. Regardless of what happens with Tiger the rest of the way, it’s clear there is no way he will be able to avoid the “yeah, but…” chatter.