New Evidence Suggests Tiger Woods Shouldn’t Have Been Assessed a Two-Stroke Penalty at the Masters

tiger woods illegal drop masters 2013

On Sunday, Adam Scott became the first Australian to win the Masters. It was a deserving victory for a deserving golfer, and he had some nice, heartfelt things to say about what the victory meant to him at the press conference after receiving his green jacket.

Unfortunately, the near-disqualification of Tiger Woods on Saturday morning almost overshadowed the whole weekend. On Friday, after Woods shot a ball off the flagstick and into the water on the 15th green, he was forced to take a drop, and apparently a television viewer alerted Masters officials to a possible violation. However, officials took a look at the video and decided that no violation had occurred…until Tiger opened his mouth.

After he finished his round on Friday, members of the media asked Woods about the drop. He explained that, since the area of his original shot was muddy, he took the drop two yards further back. Is that allowed under USGA rules? Yes…but

You see, you can move the drop back from your original lie, but the new spot must still be in line with the pin and the spot where the ball entered the water, and that’s the part of the rule Tiger violated. Because his ball didn’t enter the water on a straight line, but hit the pin and rolled back into the water, he couldn’t legally move the ball back.

Masters officials didn’t notice that Tiger had made his drop two yards back of his original lie, so it wasn’t until after Tiger explained the situation—which was after he’d signed and submitted his scorecard—that they knew of his violation. At that point, many golf purists thought Tiger should have been disqualified for handing in an incorrect card. However, at the Masters they have a rule that says if a player unintentionally violates a rule he couldn’t reasonably have been expected to know, he can be given a two-stroke penalty instead of being disqualified. That’s what happened, Tiger didn’t win the Masters, and everybody thought the entire ordeal was over with.

Today, however, there is new fascinating evidence from the Augusta Chronicle that suggests Tiger’s drop shot wasn’t actually as far away from his original lie as he himself said it was. Photographer Michael Holahan took shots of Tiger’s first and second shot while stationed in the exact same place. Then the Chronicle went and circled some of the divots on the fairway to serve as reference points, and it certainly looks like Tiger’s drop was extremely close to his original lie.

tiger woods masters penalty

What does this mean? It means Tiger intended to unintentionally violate the rules, but he probably didn’t. Thus, he was penalized not for what he did, but for what he thought he did.

Man, golf can be a weird sport.

Hat Tip – [Yahoo Sports]

Tags: Golf, The Masters, Tiger Woods,