Tiger Woods given two-shot penalty, not disqualified after Masters illegal ball drop
Tiger Woods lucked out during the Masters thanks to a rule implemented in 2011. Though Woods was given a two-shot penalty for a bad drop, he was allowed to stay in the tournament instead of being disqualified because the dispute was based on TV evidence.
When Woods shot on the 15th hold of the second round of the competition, his ball hit the flagstick and bounced into the water. The violation of the rules came when he took his penalty drop two yards behind where he took his original shot instead of in the same location. Augusta National reviewed the situation before the third round began, and decided to dock Woods two strokes. He ended up with a 73 instead of a 71, which put him five shots away from number 1. However, Woods signed his scorecard with a 71, which should have had him disqualified.
The reason why he wasn't is because Augusta National's rules committee originally determined that Woods' ball drop was within the rules. It was only later when a television viewer prompted a review of the play that Augusta realized it was a move worthy of a penalty.
"At hole #15, I took a drop that I thought was correct and in accordance with the rules," Woods wrote on Twitter. "I was unaware at that time I had violated any rules. I didn't know I had taken an incorrect drop prior to signing my scorecard. Subsequently, I met with the Masters Committee Saturday morning and was advised they had reviewed the incident prior to the completion of my round. Their initial determination was that there was no violation, but they had additional concerns based on my post-round interview. After discussing the situation with them this morning, I was assessed a two-shot penalty. I understand and accept the penalty and respect the Committees' decision."
Woods was saved from disqualification because of Rule 33, which states that a DQ can be waived at the committee's discretion. The ball drop was a violation of Rule 26-1, which says that a player needs to drop his ball as close as possible to his original spot if required to return there.
"After meeting with the player, it was determined that he had violated Rule 26, and he was assessed a two-stroke penalty," chairman of the Masters' competition committees Fred Ridley says in a statement. "The penalty of disqualification was waived by the committee under Rule 33 as the committee had previously reviewed the information and made it's intitial determination prior to the finish of the player's round.''