Just when the Masters 2013 Championship was beginning to take shape with movers and shakers maneuvering to the front of the leaderboard, a possible rules violation by one of the greatest golfers ever has shaken the golf world. Tiger Woods, who had one of the most unusual bad breaks in golf history, is now a target of a different sort – breaking a golf rule – namely, Rule 26-1. Let’s set the stage right here: Tiger, on hole #15, was hitting his third shot from the middle of the fairway about 85-yards away. He hit a perfect shot directly at the hole location and the ball struck the pin and caromed off backwards into the pond which was a tremendous body-blow to a surging Woods.
Tiger at the time was in second place with a 5-under score and charging the leader board. In fact, a birdie at the 15th would have propelled him to a tie with Jason Day at 6-under. Instead, the unfortunate occurred. Tiger, despondent and disappointed, had three options in which to take a drop shot which adds to the score of that hole.
The official USGA rules for relief from a water hazard (rule 26-1) are as follows:
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; or
c. As additional options available only if the ball last crossed the margin of a lateral water hazard, drop a ball outside the water hazard within two club-lengths of and not nearer the hole than (i) the point where the original ball last crossed the margin of the water hazard or (ii) a point on the opposite margin of the water hazard equidistant from the hole.
Woods chose the first option, to play from a spot nearest where the original ball was placed, but by moving the ball back two yards, he technically broke the rules.
All of the hoopla seems to be about whether Tiger should be disqualified and many PGA players have weighed in with not too kind words to say about it. Just take a look at some of the Twitter feeds below and judge for yourself:
“Take the fact that it was Tiger out of the equation and it is a fair ruling. Since it is him the debate begins about TV ratings etc etc.”
“I guess PGA made a new rule if a player not knowingly breaks a rule can get assessed penalty not DQ that it seems = Tiger.”
“I think he should WD. He took a drop to gain an advantage.”
That – David Duval – who is a majors winner himself and was also a fierce competitor of Tiger’s in the 1990’s, is preposterous! An “unfair advantage” is placing the ball CLOSER to the hole, not further away as Tiger did.
The whole story began when a T.V. viewer called in to notify the tournament of the possible infraction by Tiger Woods. That in itself should never be allowed to happen. There are so many golf officials on site to manage the game so if not one of the officials said anything to him about it, No Penalty should be given. Secondly, All golfers play with another partner and if that partner hasn’t said a thing about illegalities, No Penalty. This is a game of Sportsmanship, Honor and Integrity.
To think that a 14-time Major winner like Tiger Woods would take it upon himself to ‘cheat’ at a game that he has played since his dad, Earl, first placed a club in his hand is unthinkable. Why would or should Tiger have any reason to cheat the game he loves and even worships? He doesn’t and he wouldn’t. In my opinion, which seems to be what everyone has on this issue, is Tiger should not have been disqualified because the Rule Committee at the Masters said the same.
“After being prompted by a television viewer, the Rules Committee reviewed a video of the shot (after the drop) while he was playing the 18th hole,” Fred Ridley, the Augusta National Golf Club’s competition committee chairman, said in a written statement. At that time the committee determined Woods hadn’t broken any rules, but later met with Woods after he described on television where he stood to drop the ball. Woods told reporters he stood “two yards” behind the spot of his errant shot before the drop. Television replays suggested he was a little closer.
So with that said, move on golf world, move on PGA Players, move on has-beens of the game and move on weekend hackers. The Committee has spoken and Tiger Woods tees off at 1:45 pm on Saturday afternoon. What’s the matter? Are you all afraid he may still come back and win his 5th Green Jacket and 15th career major?
Of course you are…that’s why All the hoopla. And, P.S., he could just comeback and win it. He has come from 6-shots back before. He could do it again.