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Tiger Woods addresses drop controversy at the Masters

Tiger-WoodsTiger 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.”

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Tiger Woods’ drop being reviewed, could be facing disqualification at Masters

Tiger-WoodsTiger Woods is reportedly facing a possible disqualification at the Masters. When discussing his round on Friday evening, Tiger spoke about the ball he dropped after his shot hit the pin on hole 15 and rolled into the water. Here is what he said, via CBSSports.com.

“I went down to the drop area, that wasn’t going to be a good spot, because obviously it’s into the grain and it was a little bit wet.

“So it was muddy and not a good spot to drop. So I went back to where I played it from, but I went two yards farther back and I tried to take two yards off the shot of what I felt I hit.”

If that’s true, that would be illegal. The official rule reads as follows.

It is a question of fact whether a ball that has not been found after having been struck toward a water hazard is in the hazard. In the absence of knowledge or virtual certainty that a ball struck toward a water hazard, but not found, is in thehazard, the player must proceed under Rule 27-1.

If a ball is found in a water hazard or if it is known or virtually certain that a ball that has not been found is in the water hazard (whether the ball lies in water or not), the player may under penalty of one stroke:

a. Proceed under the stroke and distance provision of Rule 27-1 by playing a ball as nearly as possible at the spot from which the original ball was last played (see Rule 20-5); or

b. Drop a ball behind the water hazard, keeping the point at which the original ball last crossed the margin of the water hazard directly between the hole and the spot on which the ball is dropped, with no limit to how far behind the water hazard the ball may be dropped…

Woods’ explanation of being “two yards father back” and having to take a little bit off the shot is seemingly an admission that he did not drop his ball as nearly as possible to the spot where his initial shot was played. If that’s the case, he should have been assessed a two-stroke penalty. Since he was not and signed the scorecard, that would mean he signed an illegal card. Doing so would lead to an automatic disqualification.

According to FOXSports.com’s Robert Lusetich, Augusta National was reviewing the drop as of Saturday morning but would likely have to wait to speak to Tiger before coming to a conclusion.

When watching a replay of the shot on television, it appeared that Tiger dropped the ball about 2-3 feet behind a divot which may have been caused by his initial shot. Whether or not 2-3 feet is “as nearly as possible” to his first shot is something course officials will have to determine. Whereas the actual rule leaves room for interpretation, I would be shocked if Woods was disqualified.

UPDATE (9:34 a.m.): According to ESPN’s Tom Rinaldi, Woods has been assessed a two-shot penalty but will not be disqualified. Due to a rule change in 2012, the rules committee is now able to go back and assess a penalty and allow the player to keep playing even after they signed an illegal scorecard, rather than disqualify the player.

Tiger Woods hits pin on 15, but ball rolls into water

Tiger Woods was looking great during the second round of the Masters on Friday, but he caught a bad break on the par-5 15. Woods’ third shot hit the pin, but the ball bounced and rolled into the water. He took a one-shot penalty and then hit his shot close to the hole after taking a drop. He ended up with a bogey 6 on the hole, which was the first time all round he did worse than par on a hole. The bogey took Woods out of a tie for the lead. He had been 3-under for the round prior to the bogey.

Even though people were bemoaning his bad luck on the hole, our friend Lachlan McLean of WHAS points out that Tiger also got a nice break on nine when his tee shot hit a tree and bounced back into the fairway. Maybe it was all just evening out.

GIF via BuzzFeed Sports

Lindsey Vonn at the Masters to watch Tiger Woods in first round (Pictures)

Lindsey-Vonn-Masters-1If Tiger Woods is able to capture his fifth Green Jacket and first victory in a major tournament since the 2008 US Open, it appears his new girlfriend Lindsey Vonn will be there to witness it. The US Olympic skier was very visible before Woods teed off at 10:45 a.m. and stood near the tee at the first hole as Tiger began his round.

Vonn, who said a couple of weeks ago that she is “very happy” in her relationship with Tiger, made a few heads turn as she walked across the grounds sporting a stylish hat. Tiger has played very well so far in the 2013 season, and many have already been quick to credit Vonn as the person who has helped stabilize his personal life and improved his play on the course.

A report from the National Enquirer last week cited a source who claimed Vonn already feels “betrayed” and that she fears Tiger is still in love with his ex-wife Elin Nordegren. Although there was speculation back in January that Woods was offering an insane prenuptial agreement deal to Nordegren in an attempt to get back together with her, all indications are that both have moved on. Vonn’s presence at The Masters supports that theory.

LINDSEY VONN MASTERS PICTURES

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Lindsey Vonn ‘very happy’ in relationship with Tiger Woods

Lindsey Vonn Tiger Woods

Lindsey Vonn and Tiger Woods recently confirmed they are dating, though they have not revealed many details about their relationship. Vonn chose not to elaborate on her relationship with Woods, but she did tell The Denver Post she was “very happy.”

“You can just say that I’m very happy, but we really want to keep things as private as possible,” Vonn said of Woods in an interview Friday, per the Post. “All you really need to know is that I’m happy.”

Vonn is still rehabbing a knee injury she sustained at the world championships in Austria on Feb. 5. The Olympian had surgery to repair two torn ligaments in her knee, and she is still using crutches to get around.

According to the Post, Vonn still cannot wear high heels, though she was able to begin moving around with only one crutch. Luckily that hasn’t prevented her from having a good time with Tiger.

Rumors of Vonn and Woods dating first emerged late last year. The rumors continued in January and February, and the relationship wasn’t confirmed until March when the two revealed the news on their Facebook pages. Woods later said the purpose for going public about their relationship was to combat attention from the paparazzi. Good luck to them in their attempts to keep things private moving forward.

Photo credit: Facebook/Tiger Woods

Tiger Woods to Rory McIlroy: Get your finger out of your ass and win

Rory McIlroy is no longer looking like the next Tiger Woods. Instead, Tiger Woods is looking like the next Tiger Woods. After winning the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill on Monday, Woods has reclaimed the world No. 1 world ranking for the first time since Oct. 30, 2010.

Tiger passed McIlroy in the rankings with his third win of the young season. McIlroy texted his new Nike teammate to congratulate him on recapturing the spot, and Woods fired back with a friendly message for Rory after taking his spot.

With The Masters less than three weeks away, McIlroy would be wise to take Tiger’s advice. It was fun to speculate that Rory may be having relationship troubles that were causing his poor play, but that clearly is not true. Instead, it’s fair to wonder if the 23-year-old’s transition to Nike has not been as seamless and he tried to convince everyone it would be.

Like most great golfers, McIlroy and Woods each go through dominant stretches. Tiger appears to be in the middle of one right now, but he could really send shockwaves through the golf world with a win at Augusta. His driving still needs a lot of work, but Woods has been putting better than he ever has (thanks in part to Steve Stricker’s advice). McIlroy, on the other hand, hasn’t been doing anything right. He can continue to fly under the radar until The Masters, but if he struggles again people will really start talking. It’s time to take the finger out of the butt and focus.

Tiger Woods explains why he and Lindsey Vonn went public with relationship

Lindsey-Vonn-Tiger-WoodsTiger Woods explained Wednesday why he and Lindsey Vonn went public about their budding relationship.

Speaking at Bay Hill where he’s getting set for the Arnold Palmer Invitational, Woods told reporters that the purpose was to minimize the zeal of the paparazzi.

‘We’re very happy where we’re at,” Woods said, “but also we wanted to limit the stalkarazzi and all those sleazy websites that are out there following us. I’ve had situations where it’s been very dangerous for my kids and the extent they’ll go to. We basically devalued the first photos.

“Unfortunately, that’s just the way it is in our society right now and we felt like it was the best thing to do. We’re very happy about it.”

There were so many reports the past few months about Vonn and Tiger dating that it was getting harder and harder for them to deny things. Rather than have people take photos of them by his yacht, Woods and Vonn took control of the situation. It’s the same strategy Tiger used when he and ex-wife Elin shared photos of their family several years ago. Hopefully for Tiger, this relationship ends much better than the last one.

Photo via Facebook/Tiger Woods