Tiger's year: 5 wins, 0 majors, 3 rules violations

Published on NewsOK Modified: September 17, 2013 at 4:22 pm •  Published: September 17, 2013
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ATLANTA (AP) — Five wins. No majors.

Yet the number that might resonate most for Tiger Woods in 2013 is three, as in rules violations.

Two were his responsibility for not knowing the rules.

He took relief from an embedded lie in a sandy area covered with vines in Abu Dhabi — except a free drop was not allowed in the sand. The two-shot penalty assessed after his round caused him to miss the cut.

Far more memorable was the Masters. Woods took an improper drop after his wedge into the 15th green rattled off the pin and into the water. The mistake was not discovered until after he signed his card — and after he said in an interview he purposely dropped it a few paces behind the original spot. Augusta National docked him two shots, but didn't disqualify Woods because the club knew there was a question about the drop and chose not to talk to him before he signed his card.

It was the third violation that was the most troubling. And oddly enough, Woods knew the rule.

He just didn't think he violated it.

In the trees behind the first green Friday at the BMW Championship, he was removing a small branch in front of his golf ball when the ball moved ever so slightly. Woods immediately stopped what he was doing. He was certain the ball only oscillated. He went on to make double bogey.

Then his luck got worse. A PGA Tour Entertainment videographer just happened to capture the moment without knowing what he had. It was shipped to the office in Florida, along with the rest of his footage, where an editor detected the ball moving and notified the tour. A call to alert rules officials at Conway Farms followed.

And this is where it gets messy.

Video evidence clearly shows the ball moved — not more than a half-dimple at most, but it moved — which violates Rule 18-2a. Slugger White, vice president of rules and competition for the PGA Tour, had to look only once to see that it moved. Woods said he watched it "again and again and again" and he saw it only wobble.

The evidence was obvious enough that White assessed him two shots.

"It was pretty clear to me," White said.

Woods stood his ground a day later, saying it only oscillated. From his vantage point, crouched over the top of the ball, that's probably what it looked like. From the camera angle provided to the tour, it moved.

Imagine if White had sided with Woods, did not give him the penalty, and the video was shown on TV the next day. This would not be called "protecting the field." This would be called "protecting Tiger." It would have made Woods look even worse.



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