Skip to comments.Is Tiger Woods facing disqualification at Masters?
Posted on 04/12/2013 11:09:13 PM PDT by FlJoePa
Did Tiger Woods' actions after he drenched his third shot on No. 15 Friday at Augusta result in him signing an incorrect scorecard, which would result in his automatic disqualification from the Masters?
There was no definitive answer and a lot of speculation late Friday. So, while a conclusion has yet to be reached, let's walk through the events in question.
After his round Woods said about his shot into the water on No. 15:
"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."
Two yards farther back.
Woods had just dunked his third shot in the water in front of the green, walked to the edge of the water, walked back to the spot where he hit the shot, and dropped his ball two yards behind the original shot.
He then hit that shot (his fifth) 3 feet from the pin and tapped in for bogey.
So why might he be disqualified?
It has to do with the drop, per USGA rule 26-1:
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 the hazard, 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; or
Woods apparently didn't choose "a" because two yards (as he said in his post-round interview) isn't "as nearly as possible at the spot from which the original ball was last played." Although I admit "as nearly as possible" is incredibly vague so I suppose this is still an option for what Woods did.
And the second choice "b" is in question as well (there is a "c" but it doesn't apply here).
According to this explanation by the USGA regarding "b," when a player's ball crosses a hazard three times (which Woods' did -- the front of the water, the back of the water, and the roll into the water after the ball careened off the pin) this is how the drop is supposed to play out:
If a ball last crossed the margin of a water hazard as described in the situation above, it appears that the ball crossed the margin of the hazard three times (e.g., first, the initial time it crossed; second, when it crossed over the hazard onto land; and third, when the ball rolled back into the hazard). So when the Rule states that the ball must be dropped keeping the point where the ball last crossed the margin of the water hazard directly between the hole and the spot on which the ball is to be dropped, it is referring to the third (final) time. It is the reference point for the 26-1b option only.
Did Woods keep the point where the ball last crossed the margin of the water hazard "directly between the hole and the spot on which the ball was dropped?" It's hard to tell. It looked on TV like the ball shot off to the left, not between where Woods dropped and the hole.
If Woods played an incorrect ball, according to rule 20-7 he should be penalized 2 strokes and would have, theoretically, incorrectly signed his scorecard -- an automatic disqualification.
Whether Woods did anything wrong has sparked enough chatter about his possible disqualification to make us get very familiar with this portion of the rule book.
If you take your own personal bias against Woods out of the equation, you will find that everything worked out fairly for both the officials and Woods.
The officials saw the tape, they saw the divot and they saw where he dropped the ball, just like the rest of the world did. Based on what they saw, they told Woods before he signed the scorecard that was no rules infraction. Had they said there was and assessed him the two stroke penalty, Woods would have signed a correct scorecard and we would never be having this discussion..
THEY SCREWED UP
Actually the divot is closer to the hole than where the ball originally was, so the player would drop it again or place it after a failed 2nd drop...
This “sport” is about signing a correct scorecard. Is the speed of signing measured, or height?
I agree but the rule doesn't say "drop" the ball. It says "play" the ball -- "play the ball as nearly as possible at the spot from which the original ball was last played."
The nearest spot is not where the ball comes to rest after a drop but where your divot was. The divot marks the nearest spot.
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There is some confusion. Now they’re saying he wasn’t advised by the committee before he signed the score card. It’s Tiger... he’ll have a different set of rules and expectations.
Forwarded upon receipt to Mr. Algonquin J. Calhoun, Esq.
The Very Reverend Al Sharpton
The Extremely Reverend Jesse Jackson
The rules guy just said on ESPN that they didn’t advise Tiger his drop was legal before he signed the score card. I like Nick Faldo’s opinion. Ultimately... its your score card and you’re suppose to know the rules and follow the rules. Its black and white and if he continues to play it will be a stain on his career. (as if his career doesn’t already have a stain or two)
I disagree. The HD tv rule explanation, from the USGA’s website, is below:
“This revision to Decision 33-7/4.5 addresses the situation where a player is not aware he has breached a Rule because of facts that he did not know and could not reasonably have discovered prior to returning his score card.”
According to the USGA, the rule only applies if the player is not aware of certain facts. What fact was Tiger not aware of here? Ignorance of the rule is not an excuse. He took the drop, he deliberately dropped two yards away. That is a rule violation. How is he saved by the HD TV rule? That explanation makes no sense.
Please advise as to the pay scale, locations, and schedule for the riots and demonstrations.
And... he admitted he dropped 2 yards back to gain an advantage. Now if he hit a wedge like I do two yards wouldn’t make a difference :)
In fact, the illustration of why this is a wrong decision comes from the USGA’s website. As an explanation for the rules, the USGA gives the following example:
As a players ball is in motion, he moves several loose impediments in the area in which the ball will likely come to rest. Unaware that this action is a breach of Rule 23-1, the player fails to include the two-stroke penalty in his score for the hole. As the player was aware of the facts that resulted in his breaching the Rules, he should be disqualified under Rule 6-6d for failing to include the two-stroke penalty under Rule 23-1.
This is precisely the situation here. Woods was aware of the facts of his violation and he didn’t take the penalty. He should have been DQ’d. It seems pretty apparent that they are ignoring the rules to keep woods in the field. That’s embarrassing.
This is BS!
That is what the committee must have seized upon -- gaining an advantage from a penalty.
But the fact that he did it so casually at the Masters and was so open about it in the postmatch interview tells me that he has been doing that for quite a while and so have all the other golfers.
That is true and I was mistaken on that point. However, he also went on to say that the reason he did not speak with Woods was because he and the rules committee, after reviewing the drop on video while Woods was still playing, determined that no infraction had occured.......meaning of course, there was no need to discuss anything with Woods.
While he didn't specifically say so, he certainly implied that if they had determined that Woods had made an improper drop, they would have brought it to his attention so he could take the two stroke penalty and change the scorecard accordingly before it was eventually signed.
As far as knowing the rules and following the rules, that's what the tournament rules committee and on course judges are for when rules issues arise. So fault the committee, not Woods.......
I don’t agree. This is Tiger’s fault. Where I fault the committee is they didn’t have the guts to penalize Tiger Woods until people started emailing them and tweeting about it. Tiger is the one who took the illegal drop to gain an advantage.
In a perfect world he’ll shoot 78 to day and we won’t see him on television :) I’m semi-retired and play 5 days a week btw. But you won’t see me on television either :)
You're now letting your personal bias against Tiger distort your view of the facts........
Not at all... if you’re watching the news unfold... they stated that once they started getting emails and tweets about the illegal drop they went back and looked again and gave him the two stroke penalty.
Wrong. He was not aware. Not only that but the Masters made the decision that there was NOT a violation BEFORE he finished his round. Absolutely everyone believed at the time he signed his scorecard that it was correct. Fred Ridley in the interview with Jim Nantz said that precisely because the committee ruled that there was no violation is exactly why a DQ was never in question. Watch the interview. It’s exceptionally clear why they made the correct decision.
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