Clearing up the Tiger Woods Ball Reset; Justified

Tiger places his ball.

Tiger places his ball.

During round two of the Master’s on Saturday, Tiger shot what looked to be a perfect chip across the water hazard on 15.  The ball took an awkward bounce, hit the flag pole, and headed right into the water.  Woods was then able to reset his ball and take the hazard stroke.  Unfortunately he dropped it two yards further from the spot he had originally shot from.

This is where it gets interesting.  Officials ruled it valid during play and only thanks to a TV viewer calling in, was the play reviewed.  Tiger then signed his scorecard after the 18th.  What he had thought to be a correct scorecard turned out to be incorrect because he violated rule 26, which states the following:  

Proceed under the stroke and distance provision of Rule 27-1 by playing a ball as nearly as possible at the spot from which the original ball was last played

So because he had signed off on a scorecard that was incorrect, the rules used to state that he would be disqualified.  A newer rule 33-7, however, states the following to protect players in situations like this:

A penalty of disqualification may in exceptional individual cases be waived, modified or imposed if the Committee considers such action warranted.

Any penalty less than disqualification must not be waived or modified.

If a Committee considers that a player is guilty of a serious breach of etiquette, it may impose a penalty of disqualification under this Rule.

Due to the drop being judged originally as fair, he actually signed off on a scorecard that was wrong.  The scoring table even said he was ok.  But Rule 33-7 was actually created to help players out in situations like this.  If this rule didn’t exist, Tiger would be ultimately disqualified instead of just given the two-stroke penalty as he was.

Now, there are plenty of people saying that Tiger Woods should DQ himself because he “cheated”.  Tiger didn’t cheat and that would be a total failure of applying a rule that was created to prevent unjust disqualifications.  Why would Tiger, in his mind, think he was doing wrong by placing the ball two yards further from the hole on a reset?  It is ludicrous to think that Tiger should DQ himself for not knowing such a rule and being pardoned from DQ from officials themselves.  The officials did what they thought should be done in the given situation and that is prefect execution of a rule that I am completely in favor of.




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