Posted on April 15, 2013
Tiger Woods got lucky.
He got lucky that the final round between Angel Cabrera and Adam Scott proved to be so completely fascinating that it finally overshadowed the Woods controversy.
Woods should have been disqualified for filling in the wrong scorecard on Friday.
The greatest golfer of all time should have known the rules about dropping a ball in the right place when you put your first ball in the water.
Woods doesn’t hit too many golf balls in the water compared to say, me.
But he plays a lot more golf than I do, and he should know the rules cold.
The rule states pretty clearly that you have three options when you hit a ball in the water. You can go to the drop zone. You can hit it from the area closest to where the ball crossed the hazard. You can hit it as close as possible from the spot where the ball was initially hit from.
Woods was all too clear in his interview after his round on Friday. He decided to drop the ball two yards farther back from his initial hit and then hit it two yards farther, so that it wouldn’t go in the water.
To be that precise is amazing, especially for a duffer like me. But it is also a clear violation of the rules.
There was a lot of grousing about the decision of the Master’s golf committee to give Tiger a two-stroke penalty.
They decided to apply a new rule, called the HD rule, that basically gives tournament sponsors a chance to keep people in tournaments instead of disqualifying everybody who breaks a rule by mistake.
They call it the HD rule because theoretically if a violation is found through the wonders of HD television, then you get the free pass to stay in the tournament.
The problem with applying this rule to Tiger is that he didn’t break the rule by mistake. It wasn’t like he hit some leaf off of the tree by mistake. He broke the rule and then clearly admitted he broke the rule on television. Not knowing the rules is not an excuse.
Tiger should have been disqualified. For the good of the game, he should have taken his disqualification and gone home, instead of playing on the weekend.
Instead, he played on and played well-enough to come in 4th place.
Had he won, it would have been a tainted victory. And it would have damaged his reputation.
Woods is the greatest player in the history of the game. He doesn’t need a tainted victory on his roster of championships.
Tiger is lucky to have lost.