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Masters Officials Give Tiger Woods Two-Stroke Penalty After TV Viewer Calls In Illegal Drop

As far as Augusta is concerned, every fan at home is a rules official.

Tiger Woods was on his way to a decent round Friday when he hit this, his second shot on the 15th hole.

Mike Segar / Reuters

When his shot (incredibly) hit the flag and rolled into the drink, he was assessed a stroke penalty. The rules state he must then place the ball as close as to the original spot and hit it again.

His drop, it seems, was two yards behind his original divot. (He was, in essence, hitting a longer shot now.)

Charlie Riedel / AP

Here’s a clearer side-by-side, via Deadspin.

Well, some guy at home who was watching on TV called the Masters — you can do that? — and alerted them that the drop may have been illegal.

Mike Ehrmann / Getty Images

They reviewed the drop and ruled there was no infraction. Woods finished his round, signed his scorecard, and everything seemed to be fine.

Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Curtis Compton / AP

Until, that is, Woods gave his post-round press conference and actually said he played two yards behind the original spot.

Phil Noble / Reuters

This morning, Woods met with course officials and was given a two-stroke penalty. He was not disqualified because course officials had already ruled once (yesterday) that there was no issue.

Jeff Siner/Charlotte Observer / MCT

Woods himself weighed in just a short time ago.

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 Woods (@TigerWoods)

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 Woods

I didn’t know I had taken an incorrect drop prior to signing my scorecard. Subsequently, I met with the Masters Committee Saturday morning..

— Tiger Woods (@TigerWoods)

I didn’t know I had taken an incorrect drop prior to signing my scorecard. Subsequently, I met with the Masters Committee Saturday morning..— Tiger Woods

and was advised they had reviewed the incident prior to the completion of my round. Their initial determination...

— Tiger Woods (@TigerWoods)

and was advised they had reviewed the incident prior to the completion of my round. Their initial determination…— Tiger Woods

was that there was no violation, but they had additional concerns based on my post-round interview. After discussing the situation...

— Tiger Woods (@TigerWoods)

was that there was no violation, but they had additional concerns based on my post-round interview. After discussing the situation…— Tiger Woods

...with them this morning, I was assessed a two-shot penalty. I understand and accept the penalty and respect the Committees’ decision.

— Tiger Woods (@TigerWoods)

…with them this morning, I was assessed a two-shot penalty. I understand and accept the penalty and respect the Committees’ decision.— Tiger Woods

And the Masters even sent out an official statement explaining the whole debacle.

It reads:

Yesterday afternoon, the Rules Committee was made aware of a possible Rules violation that involved a drop by Tiger Woods on the 15th hole.

In preparation for his fifth shot, the player dropped his ball in close proximity to where he had played his third shot in apparent conformance with Rule 26. After being prompted by a television viewer, the Rules Committee reviewed a video of the shot while he was playing the 8th hole. At that moment and based on that evidence, the Committee determined he had complied with the Rules.

After he signed his scorecard, and in a television interview subsequent to the round, the player stated that he played further from the point than where he had played his third shot. Such action would constitute playing from the wrong place.

The subsequent information provided by the player’s interview after he had completed play warranted further review and discussion with him this morning. After meeting with the player, it was determined that he had violated Rule 26, and he was assessed a two stroke penalty. The penalty of disqualification was waived by the Committee under Rule 33 as the Committee had previously reviewed the information and made its initial determination prior to the finish of the player’s round.

Fred Ridley
Chairman, Competition Committees

Via Twitter: @ronsirak

To recap, Woods technically ratted on himself, but some random TV viewer at home started this weird chain of events. Now, Woods starts today at -1, five strokes off the lead.

Mike Segar / Reuters

Wait, none of this makes much sense? Seems out of touch? How shocking.

i think it's pretty clear the last thing augusta national cares about is whether we think they're hypocrites.

— Bomani Jones (@bomani_jones)

i think it’s pretty clear the last thing augusta national cares about is whether we think they’re hypocrites.— Bomani Jones

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