Join 3,375 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


Tiger or Cheetah?
April 14, 2013 10:17 AM   Subscribe

Controversy struck the exalted Augusta grounds of the Masters golf tournament on Friday as Tiger Woods put himself at risk of disqualification. It all began with a situation in which Woods had the extraordinarily bad luck of bouncing his ball off the flagstick on the 15th hole into the water. Instead of dropping his ball "as nearly as possible" to it's original position, Woods dropped it a couple of yards back. In an interview after the round, Woods said: "I went back to where I played it from, but I went two yards further back and I took, tried to take two yards off the shot of what I felt I hit and that should land me short of the flag and not have it either hit the flag or skip over the back." Woods signed his scorecard without assigning himself the two shot penalty the rules of golf require for an improper drop. The following day, the Masters Rules Committee ruled that Woods would not be disqualified for signing an incorrect scorecard, justifying it by using a new rule that allows tournament committees to waive rules infractions called in by TV viewers, even though the intention of that rule was to prevent disqualifications based on tiny movements of the ball or sand imperceptible to the golfer but visible on close-up HD shots. Many in the golf world were outraged at both the ruling and the fact that Woods didn't withdraw himself from the tournament. Nick Faldo suggested it would be "the manly thing to do."

Observers are already arguing the pros and cons of the impact this situation will have on golf's fabled sportsmanship in which player's have traditionally called penalties on themselves.

Masters founder Bobby Jones famously demonstrated his own stand on sportsmanship in the 1925 US Open:

"Jones was not only a consummately skilled golfer but exemplified the principles of sportsmanship and fair play. In the first round of the 1925 U.S. Open at the Worcester Country Club near Boston, his approach shot to the 11th hole's elevated green fell short into the deep rough of the embankment. As he took his stance to pitch onto the green, the head of his club brushed the grass and caused a slight movement of the ball. [No one but Jones himself witnessed this occur.] He took the shot, then informed his playing partner Walter Hagen and the USGA official covering their match that he was calling a penalty on himself. Hagen was unable to talk him out of it, and they continued play. After the round and before he signed his scorecard, officials argued with Jones but he insisted that he had violated Rule 18, moving a ball at rest after address, and took a 77 instead of the 76 he otherwise would have carded. Jones' self-imposed one-stroke penalty eventually cost him winning the Open by a stroke in regulation, necessitating a playoff he then lost. Although praised by many sports writers for his gesture, Jones was reported to have said, 'You may as well praise a man for not robbing a bank.'"
posted by fairmettle (71 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

 
Winning takes care of everything.
posted by Kale Slayer at 10:47 AM on April 14, 2013 [2 favorites]


Both positions are arguably correct, but this has become a way bigger story than it deserves to be. There's only outrage because it involves Woods. Calling this cheating is a huge stretch.
posted by davebush at 10:48 AM on April 14, 2013 [12 favorites]


The information contained in the links clearly indicates that Tiger did not cheat, which implies a willful breaking of the rules. So although the "Tiger or Cheetah" framing is clever, it isn't accurate. And as far as Nick Faldo's attempt to emasculate Tiger, well, I guess he changed his mind.
posted by Seymour Zamboni at 10:50 AM on April 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


Goodness. I don't have a strong opinion on the matter, except to say that Josh Levin really comes across like a royal asshole in that article he wrote.
"He writes This is a golfer’s sense of proportionality: hitting a loose reed is no different than putting a hit on someone."
and then compares people's concerns on the matter with committing suicide.
posted by edgeways at 10:51 AM on April 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


Masters founder Bobby Jones famously demonstrated his own stand on sportsmanship in the 1925 US Open

What was his position on letting people like Tiger Woods play golf? I'm looking but I can't find his stand on sportsmanship on that issue anywhere.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 10:51 AM on April 14, 2013 [13 favorites]


Related
posted by hellojed at 10:52 AM on April 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


This story is just distracting me from enjoying the Mets being in 2nd place. And I need to enjoy this as hard as I can, for as long as I can. Because, you know... the Mets...
posted by mikelieman at 10:53 AM on April 14, 2013 [6 favorites]


I'm with Levin on the sanctimony, for sure.

But, just from reading about it, the drop does seem a little dicey. Two yards from the divot? Isn't that stretching things? Forget about the score card and stuff.
posted by Trochanter at 10:58 AM on April 14, 2013


The OP explained this better than any of the news stories I was trying to read about this yesterday.
posted by marxchivist at 11:00 AM on April 14, 2013 [4 favorites]


If I didn't know better, I'd think this whole "controversy" was an elaborate plot for the golf media elite to get me (and other casual fans like me) to sympathize with Tiger Woods again.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 11:05 AM on April 14, 2013 [4 favorites]


But this is about golf.
posted by gum at 11:12 AM on April 14, 2013


If I was playing a Sunday afternoon round with my dad and brothers, the foursome wouldn't really hold anyone to a Rule 26 infraction. This may not put me in Tiger's league, but it does move him a little closer to mine.
posted by klarck at 11:20 AM on April 14, 2013


He was already taking a one stroke penalty after hitting into the water on his third stroke. Then add two more as a penalty for improving his lie.

Only a great chip and putt enabled him to record a snowman 8 on that hole.

I think that the effective four strokes it cost him was enough.
posted by notmtwain at 11:30 AM on April 14, 2013


How disgraceful; it's so unlike Tiger Woods to have such an ethical lapse.
posted by wolfdreams01 at 11:32 AM on April 14, 2013 [9 favorites]


So, people who know about golf - is it a normal thing to drop your ball a little ways from where it would have fallen? Like, was it a reasonable use-your-judgment kind of thing he did, or a whoa-wait-a-minute kind of thing? I guess I don't understand why he would choose to do that if it was obviously not okay -- he has to know his every move is scrutinized.
posted by LobsterMitten at 11:34 AM on April 14, 2013


justifying it by using a new rule that allows tournament committees to waive rules infractions called in by TV viewers, even though the intention of that rule was to prevent disqualifications based on tiny movements of the ball or sand imperceptible to the golfer but visible on close-up HD shots

I could never figure out why anyone would bother watching golf, but I guess playing referee from a distance would be pretty fun for a golf fan. I just can't believe it took officials this long to figure out ways to blow off the crazies on the phone.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 11:35 AM on April 14, 2013


If I hit a ball into the water from where I take a shot, it becomes a lot harder to hit a ball into the water if I take a shot from six feet back from where I took the first shot - even if I hit the ball with the same amount of force the second time.

Is this outrage worthy? In a game where the point of the water is to create a shot where you have to limit your power appropriately and you are rewarded for accuracy - yeah.

Do I like golf? / Would I know this if it hadn't been posted to the blue? Not really / Not likely.
posted by Nanukthedog at 12:04 PM on April 14, 2013


(As an aside, that a great post title)
posted by spiderskull at 12:06 PM on April 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


Unfortunately this is not the only time tiger has dropped his balls in the wrong place.
posted by crushedhope at 12:14 PM on April 14, 2013 [8 favorites]



I could never figure out why anyone would bother watching golf,


the value of golf as a TV entertainment is almost entirely hangover cure, which is why they always play the final round on Sundays. Just lay back, watch people walking on nice fields of green, with muted commentary and occasional bits of distant applause.
posted by philip-random at 12:15 PM on April 14, 2013 [11 favorites]


I could be convinced that this is the officials' way of telling fans, "See, we're going to ignore you on this easy one. You can be damn sure we're going to ignore you every time you see a ball roll or settle a little. So don't phone us unless something really blatant occurs."
posted by ardgedee at 12:18 PM on April 14, 2013


Unfortunately this is not the only time tiger has dropped his balls in the wrong place.

I don't think that's how sex works.
posted by Tomorrowful at 12:19 PM on April 14, 2013 [18 favorites]


In related news, Condoleezza Rice is now a member of Augusta National, ending our long national nightmare in which only male Republicans were permitted to join.
posted by killdevil at 12:20 PM on April 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


Yeah, it's news because it's Tiger Woods. I think the four shots is sufficient penalty, he's unlikely to place in the top three unless a bunch of people melt down.
posted by arcticseal at 12:23 PM on April 14, 2013


The people who watch golf at home and call in to tattle on the players are no better than the jackasses who shout "IN THE HOLE" after every shot, and they should all be stabbed.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 12:32 PM on April 14, 2013 [5 favorites]


@mr_crash_davis

Absolutely. What sort of a no-life wanker would you have to be to sit with your nose against your HD screen and your phone in your hand.

And regarding crowds, I know where America keeps its assholes - the Ryder Cup crowd.
posted by GallonOfAlan at 12:35 PM on April 14, 2013


I wonder what's going to happen the next time someone does this. Is this a "here's how we're dealing with penalties" change, or is it a "here's how we're dealing with famous golfers only" change?
posted by jeather at 12:41 PM on April 14, 2013


LOL. Turns out he actually did drop his ball in the same spot. smdh @ a traditional unlike any other.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 12:41 PM on April 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


I could never figure out why anyone would bother watching golf...

I would think going to watch a tournament in person would be horrible — you pay $100 (or more) for a ticket, then wander around through big crowds, trying to see over folks while the gallery marshals tell you to shut up, someone's about to hit, and you can take in only a little part of the big picture at any one time.

On TV (not that I've watched golf in this century), I always found it more interesting, especially on the last day of a tournament, when the cameras switch instantly from one golfer to another — the two guys trying to catch up, the guy trying to remain the leader — and you can actually see what's going on everywhere that matters, more or less at the same time, while the final holes are played.

Along the same lines, many years ago I played a lot of computer golf, enjoying the mix of adjusting for shot distances, club selection, wind speed, putting surfaces, all while sitting comfortably at home... but why anyone would want to go out in real life, hit a little ball, then walk after it, then do that again, for hundreds of yards at a time, always baffled me.
posted by LeLiLo at 1:01 PM on April 14, 2013


'Improving' his 'lie'.

That's the ticket!
posted by mazola at 1:01 PM on April 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


Winner's share of the prize money in the mentioned 1925 U.S. Open was $500. Inflation-adjusted, about $6,580. Winner's share of this years' Augusta Masters will be $1,440,000, a bit under 220 times as much.

Just throwing that out there.
posted by mhoye at 1:10 PM on April 14, 2013 [4 favorites]


If he knowingly signed an incorrect scorecard he should be disqualified.

But who cares about Tiger. He's yesterday's news.

The new hotness is Tianlang Guan.

A 14-year-old kid MADE THE CUT AT AUGUSTA NATIONAL. And not a seven-foot-tall freakish mutant 14-year-old. A normal kid-sized 14-year-old. He probably can't hit the ball much further than 250 yards on a perfect drive. So he's hitting long irons into greens other players are hitting wedges into. At. Augusta. National. Where it's all about placing the ball on the greens.

What a phenomenal performance.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 1:19 PM on April 14, 2013 [4 favorites]


A 14-year-old kid MADE THE CUT AT AUGUSTA NATIONAL.

Sure, but I heard he's slow.
posted by eddydamascene at 1:21 PM on April 14, 2013 [3 favorites]


Something was said, not good. What was it? Don't yell at Tianlang? Nah, that's okay. What was it... slow! They called you slow!
posted by MUD at 1:25 PM on April 14, 2013


When I heard he was penalized for slow play, all I could think was "I hope Padraig Harrington was behind him."
posted by BitterOldPunk at 1:32 PM on April 14, 2013


This was huge news in Augusta on Saturday morning, and since I had a house full of visitors in town for the tuna-mint (as long-time starter Phil Harison pronounced it) we were watching a lot of analysis of this while waiting for the actual play to start. One of the commenters (I forget who but either a player or a rules official for other events) made the point that when Tiger's first shot bounced off the flag and into the water it meant that he had hit it slightly too hard; he should have landed a couple of yards in front of the flag and bounced near the hole. By moving the ball a couple of yards back and taking the same shot, that was the result he accomplished. He admitted to dropping the ball a couple of yards back in the interview (if he had kept his mouth shut he would have gotten away with no penalty, it seems to me), so the implication is that he used the drop to improve his position, which is a definite rules violation. I'm not a golfer but that makes Tiger's position seem pretty questionable. Someone else mentioned that the two strokes could make the difference between first and third place, which is $900,000 difference in prize money (1.44 million vs. 544 thousand last year). But he doesn't seem to be having a very good day today and seems unlikely to be in contention for the win anyway (although he has just birdied 2 in a row here in the rain).

Unfortunately this kerfluffle over Tiger's drop has overshadowed the real controversy at this year's Masters.
posted by TedW at 1:36 PM on April 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


But nobody mentioned anything to Tiger or about Tiger dropping his ball in an illegal position during the round -- not his caddy, not spectators, not officials, nobody. Don't you think a two yard drop would be noticeable? And now we have photographs showing that, at a maximum, his second ball was probably 6 inches away from the first ball, not 6 feet. It appears as though the only thing Tiger did incorrectly was, after the round was complete, announce for some reason that he intended to improve his position. But what if he actually didn't do so? Should he still be penalized? I'm no Tiger Woods fan so maybe MCMikeNamara has it right -- perhaps this is all a ruse to make people defend Tiger against all of the stupid shit that moderate golf fans hate about insufferable golf snobbery.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 1:44 PM on April 14, 2013


But nobody mentioned anything to Tiger or about Tiger dropping his ball in an illegal position during the round

BUt that's kind of the point of much of the (suitably understated) outrage; players at the top level of golf have traditionally been more willing to penalize themselves than the officials have been to penalize them.
posted by TedW at 1:48 PM on April 14, 2013


Are you saying that sometimes golfers knowingly do things that would disqualify them, then when someone points out that they did that thing, they then disqualify themselves? That's interesting. Who has done this?
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 1:52 PM on April 14, 2013


Wow....yeah....the fact that he dropped the ball only 6 inches away is in agreement with the rules I would think. If that is indeed the case then this is even more strange because Tiger is, in effect, being penalized for something he thought he did (but didn't really do) to improve his position. So when he said "it worked out" what this means is that he actually hit that 2nd shot differently, maybe pulled back some power or hit it a little thick, so that the result was different from the same spot--even though he incorrectly thought it worked out because of his changing the spot--which he didn't do according to those photos. But I guess like in all sports, once the penalty has been dealt, you can't take it back. Play goes on even though your team just got royally screwed and everbody knows it.
posted by Seymour Zamboni at 1:55 PM on April 14, 2013


Are you saying that sometimes golfers knowingly do things that would disqualify them, then when someone points out that they did that thing, they then disqualify themselves?
Not exactly; rather that if they unknowingly break the rules (which can vary slightly from course to course) the choose to penalize themselves (not necessarily with disqualification).

Who has done this?

From the third link in the FPP:
There are numerous examples in the past of players, when in doubt, penalizing or even disqualifying themselves. In 1998 at Bay Hill, Jeff Sluman remembered a local rule at the 17th hole after he had hit his ball in the water and taken what he thought was a legal drop.

He remembered the rule hours after his round was over. The next morning he asked a rules official to go back to the spot with him to try to determine if his drop had been legal. Neither man was certain. Under the rules, Sluman was entitled to give himself the benefit of the doubt. He was two shots out of the lead at the time.

He withdrew.

“I wouldn’t have been able to sleep if I somehow won and thought I might have made an illegal drop along the way,” he said. “I couldn’t live with the doubt.”

In 1994, during the second round of the Western Open Davis Love III moved his marker so that Tom Watson could putt on the 14th hole. As he walked off the green, Love couldn’t remember if he had moved his mark back. No one in the group could remember either – his caddie, Frank Williams, had been raking a bunker.

Because he wasn’t certain, Love added one to his score at the end of the day – and missed the cut by a shot. The money he would have made if he had gone on to finish last on the weekend would have put him in the top 30 on the money list at the end of the year. In those days, that got you into the Masters. Instead, Love began 1995 without a spot in the Masters and didn’t get in until he won in New Orleans the week prior to the tournament.

At one point, after he had come close to winning but ultimately failed on several occasions, someone asked Love how he was going to feel if he missed the Masters because he had called a penalty on himself when he wasn’t sure he committed a violation.

“How would I feel,” he answered, “if I won the Masters and had to wonder the rest of my life if I cheated to get in?”

posted by TedW at 2:04 PM on April 14, 2013 [6 favorites]


So it's happened once? That doesn't seem like a precedent to me. Plus, it's not like Tiger wasn't penalized -- two shots is pretty significant. And at the end of the day, is he being penalized for what he did or what he said he did? That to me seems to be the strangest part.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 2:10 PM on April 14, 2013


Congrats to Elin Nordegren on having an HDTV and a phone.
posted by Rock Steady at 2:12 PM on April 14, 2013 [4 favorites]


I've always secretly felt a golf course was a waste of a good pasture or three-day eventing course, and I could give a rat's rear about Woods.

But your post title is the greatest thing evar!
posted by BlueHorse at 2:24 PM on April 14, 2013


I could never figure out why anyone would bother watching golf

It's the key ingredient in my dad's Sunday ironing. (There is no other ironing.)
posted by Madamina at 2:25 PM on April 14, 2013 [2 favorites]


I could never figure out why anyone would bother watching golf

For the same reasons some people bother watching soccer I think.

Personally, I find a close golf tournament more compelling.
posted by Seymour Zamboni at 2:30 PM on April 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


What is really weird to me is that Woods offered his explanation of events as if it were a normal part of the game, especially in light of how ambitiously the history of the game had adhered to fair play. I don't think he thought he was incriminating himself. Did he interpret the rules differently?
posted by SpacemanStix at 2:32 PM on April 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


My plan to dominate the Masters with a spectacular and unheard of 72 under par performance:
  1. Drop the ball next to the hole.
  2. Take a two stroke penalty.
  3. Knock it in.
  4. Repeat for the next 71 holes.
posted by Flunkie at 3:34 PM on April 14, 2013 [13 favorites]


SpacemanStix, yeah, that is exactly what I don't understand too.
posted by LobsterMitten at 3:47 PM on April 14, 2013


I could never figure out why anyone would bother watching golf

You obviously don't play the game. Even as an occasional player, I enjoy watching the game on tv, doubly-so a major like this. Golf is pretty unique among the big televised sports in that the viewing public, regular golfers though they may be, can extract a bit of learning while watching pros play. You see how they play situations you will find yourself in, and you can apply what you see to your own game.

As for this non-scandal...The rules of golf can be pretty arcane and confusing, depending on the situation. As this situation shows, it could have been covered under multiple rules, each exacting a different penalty. As I saw it unfold, I thought Woods took the correct action, replay the shot from a drop within a club length of your original location, no closer to the hole. The Masters, being a major tournament, has officials watching every move of the players. Had Woods' actions been in violation of the rules, they would have assessed the correct penalty when he came in and signed his card. Obviously, the officials had no issue with things as they stood. And, they accepted Tiger's card without a word. It's only after Tiger's interview did the hub-bub start.

In the end, it's up to the rules committee to apply the rules as they see fit and correct. They did. That's the end of it. Now, I have to go back to watching the playoff.
posted by Thorzdad at 4:29 PM on April 14, 2013


Incidentally, the playoff is gripping.
posted by arcticseal at 4:38 PM on April 14, 2013


But so Thorzdad - any insight as to why Tiger would have said what he did in the interview? Did he just think that (moving the ball a couple yards) was within the rules for the situation?
posted by LobsterMitten at 4:49 PM on April 14, 2013


Wow, that was great. I never watch that much golf.
posted by ThatCanadianGirl at 4:50 PM on April 14, 2013


Way to go, Adam!
posted by Mojojojo at 4:53 PM on April 14, 2013


the value of golf as a TV entertainment is almost entirely hangover cure

The amazing stuff about this is, that you can play 36 holes on it in the afternoon, take it home and just get stoned to the bejeezus-belt that night on this stuff.
posted by octobersurprise at 4:57 PM on April 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


Last day is always fun to watch. Even in person, although it certainly gets better as the day moves along and the action is focused on the final holes.

Early rounds are really for people who appreciate good shots, since its so far from the end.
posted by smackfu at 5:11 PM on April 14, 2013


And as far as Nick Faldo's attempt to emasculate Tiger, well, I guess he changed his mind.

I am not convinced that Faldo has changed his mind. As a matter of fact he lead his comments in today's broadcast with a statement to the effect of "the rules of golf used to be black and white, but now I guess we'll just have to get used to the recent rule changes which allow these types of grey" (paraphrased) and further commented that this would be a ongoing subject of discussion after the Masters.

I emphasized the word "after" above, because I fully believe that CBS and the Masters Committee sat all of their staff down and read them the riot act about drawing out this controversy and to get back to the main event - - the best golf tournament of the year (after The Open). Of course, it has also been suggested that this may have been the work of one of sportsmanship's oldest enemies. And Faldo certainly had every reason to fear the Master's Committee who have a reputation for everlasting vindictiveness against those that are perceived as sullying their reputation.
posted by fairmettle at 5:34 PM on April 14, 2013


What is really weird to me is that Woods offered his explanation of events as if it were a normal part of the game, especially in light of how ambitiously the history of the game had adhered to fair play. I don't think he thought he was incriminating himself. Did he interpret the rules differently?

Conjecture is that Woods was agitated by his bad luck with the flagstick and thought he could drop the ball as far back as he wanted as long as he kept the point where he entered the hazard between himself and the pin. Usually when your ball goes in the water hazard it is essentially on line with your shot position. However, in this case, because the ball caromed off the flagstick at a 45° angle, that position would have been a very tight angle off to one side. Since he chose to play where he had originally shot from the rule stipulates that you take your penalty shot as near as possible to where you played the previous stroke.

Therefore, as others have noted, Woods was almost certainly not consciously cheating, but rather made a mistake. However, under the rules of golf, ignorance of a rule is not a valid excuse for breaking it - - even under the new rule cited by the committee. That is what is at the root of the outrage by traditionalists in the world of golf.
posted by fairmettle at 5:53 PM on April 14, 2013 [2 favorites]


Nick Faldo suggested it would be "the manly thing to do."

BTW, have you ever watched women's golf? They'll do anything to win.
posted by JHarris at 6:01 PM on April 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


I could never figure out why anyone would bother watching golf...

If there aren't any HD nature shows on, sometimes I like to look at some nice landscaping.
posted by box at 6:32 PM on April 14, 2013 [2 favorites]


Ah, thanks for that, fairmettle.
posted by LobsterMitten at 7:00 PM on April 14, 2013


Tiger should have been assessed a penalty equalling the point drop in weekend TV ratings his disqualification would have caused.
posted by incandissonance at 8:39 PM on April 14, 2013


I want to side with Tiger here, because at least under gentleman's rules, placing the ball further back is how it is done. If you go back to the spot where you think you hit it from, you don't want to accidentally give yourself yardage, so you move back a little just to be on the safe side.

That's the spirit of the rules, anyway. The text only says "as close as possible". This is up to the judges. If he knew for sure he was 2 yards back, he probably was in violation. But if he was in the general area and moved two yards back just to be sure, he wouldn't be.

If there aren't any HD nature shows on, sometimes I like to look at some nice landscaping.

You should see it in 3D! There was a demo in a store showing (I think) last year's Masters and it was a sight to behold.
posted by gjc at 8:39 PM on April 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


No opinion on arcane golf rules, but I do think that Woods is being unfairly judged on his life outside the game. He lives with an addiction of sorts. It ruined his marriage and humiliated him in front of a billion people.
posted by KokuRyu at 9:39 PM on April 14, 2013


No opinion on arcane golf rules, but I do think that Woods is being unfairly judged on his life outside the game. He lives with an addiction of sorts. It ruined his marriage and humiliated him in front of a billion people.

He has also dealt with a lot of "I'm not racist, I just don't like the guy" attitudes since the day he stepped onto a golf course.
posted by gjc at 3:49 AM on April 15, 2013


any insight as to why Tiger would have said what he did in the interview? Did he just think that (moving the ball a couple yards) was within the rules for the situation?

Probably. I've always understood the rule to mean that you are allowed to drop a new ball anywhere along the line of flight from the previous stroke to where it entered the hazard, no closer to the hole. Normally, mere mortals would drop just behind where your previous ball sat. A professional, though, has the deep knowledge of their game to understand that dropping a yard or so back from that spot would work better for them, so they would drop there with the understanding that it was allowed within the rules.

So, you can see where the conflict in the rules might come...technically, he's dropping within his right according to one rule, yet, one could say he's improving his lie, too, which is a big no-no under another rule. Had he not made the offhand comment in the interview, this "scandal" would never have arisen.
posted by Thorzdad at 5:35 AM on April 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


Via The New York Times:

"A photographer for The Augusta Chronicle took pictures of both approach shots while standing in the same position alongside the green. In light of several divot marks just behind and near Woods, it appeared Woods may have been standing in the same place both times even if he thought he had backed up. It is up to the player to call a violation on himself, and if he thinks he backed up two yards, then his word is enough for the penalty to be assessed.

On Sunday, Woods acknowledged he had seen the photos.

'I saw them,' he said. 'Maybe not as much as I thought. But it was certainly not as close as the rule says.'”

posted by fairmettle at 8:47 AM on April 15, 2013


But it was certainly not as close as the rule says.

So ... wait. He's admitting a second time that he broke the rule and didn't call himself on it? Does he have foot-in-mouth disease or is he just rubbing everyone else's noses in the fact that he broke the rule, didn't assess himself the penalty, and got away with it?
posted by Kadin2048 at 9:18 AM on April 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


So wait, your problem is that he has a consistent story? You'd prefer he mix it up a little in each interview, to keep people guessing or something?

Here's the full question from the press conference.
Q: Is there any chance that you were mistaken when you said you were two yards back, because there were photos that looked like you were in the exact same spot?
TIGER WOODS: No, I saw the photos.
Q: What do you think?
TIGER WOODS: I was behind it.
Q: You do?
TIGER WOODS: Yeah.
Q: So you're pretty sure that the two yards is actually --
TIGER WOODS: One, two yards. But it certainly was not as close as the rule says.
posted by smackfu at 10:40 AM on April 15, 2013


You are supposed to stand at the spot and drop and if the ball rolls more than a club length (Tiger's driver is definitely more than 36 inches long) then you do the drop over. So the rules allow you to do a very subtle nudge on the drop where you give the ball a very small sideways velocity (it is also a physical impossibility for a human hand to drop a ball with precisely zero sideways velocity) if it happens to make a difference to you where exactly within that two club length diameter legal drop zone you land. The intent of the rule is it makes no difference at all where you play your shot from inside that two yard diameter circle; 99999 times out of 100000 it makes no difference at all. This is the one time in our lives we have probably heard it made a difference.

It is complicated. Tiger is not the most eloquent communicator. I doubt that he could explain to the masses the difference between a one yard radius and a two yard diameter. He has a history of being a dishonest man although not a dishonest tournament golfer. I don't think there is anything he can say that will stop this but I don't think when he was on the course he did anything horribly wrong. The PGA might want to look into having a marshall do the ball drops starting next year because the way the rules are now the most skillful ball droppers have an unfair advantage over the other pros that comes into play 1 in a 100000 times.
posted by bukvich at 11:16 AM on April 15, 2013


Last word to the Scotsman...

Most shocking – and ironic amidst the often-pointless pedantry of golf’s most rule-ridden venue – was, of course, the astonishing and unprecedented decision that allowed the biggest draw in the game to compete over the closing 36 holes and, perhaps not coincidentally, boost television ratings across the globe. You had to laugh really. In the same week that Augusta National chairman Billy Payne confirmed the club’s desire to see golf played under “one set of rules” in the wake of the upcoming judgment on the Scott-style anchoring of putters, his cohort, former USGA president Fred Ridley, gave what even the mildest cynics viewed as preferential treatment to world No.1, Tiger Woods.

Truly, it beggared belief that Ridley could look at the location of the penalty drop made by Woods on the 15th fairway during day two and not conclude something might just be amiss. At the very least, a prompt post-round and pre-scorecard signing conversation with the four-times Masters winner would have made sense. To do nothing was, as one high-profile rules-official commented dryly last Monday, “surprising”.

It was, as things turned out, also convenient. By taking some of the blame themselves, the green jackets were able to mitigate their initial error in not slapping a two-shot penalty on Woods. And – somewhat at least – justify allowing him to play on. Still, it was a strange decision, one that will no doubt reverberate through the professional game. When next a player unwittingly falls foul of golf’s ever-more complicated regulations, what will be the result? Will he be afforded the same leniency under Rule 33-7? Aye right. He’ll be disqualified without hesitation, his ignorance no defence in the eyes of the law. Which is what should have happened to Woods.

As for the notion that Woods himself should have recognised his wrongdoing and voluntarily withdrawn, it is perhaps enough to say that such a move would have been entirely out of character. While there are surely some who would have done what so many saw as the “right thing” – the names Jack Nicklaus, Tom Watson and Ben Crenshaw spring immediately to mind – the 14-times major champion is a different breed of cat. Given the opportunity to boost as never before his somewhat sketchy reputation, he predictably took refuge in the flawed decision of the committee and played on. Oh well.

posted by fairmettle at 11:21 AM on April 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


« Older Mortgage fraud, faux-democracy and escrache in Spa...  |  The soothing feed of a thousan... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments