The Masters: Two-shot penalty for Tiger Woods after incorrect drop
Tiger Woods has been handed a two-shot penalty for taking an incorrect drop during his second round at the Masters.
Last Updated: 13/04/13 11:42pm
World No 1 Woods saw his approach shot at the par five 15th hit the flag stick then spin back into the water, just as he was making a charge to the top of the leaderboard.
He decided against playing from the drop-zone and instead went back to where his original shot was played, but decided to move two yards further back, from where he produced a stunning shot to make bogey.
However, rule 26-1 states that he should play his second attempt as near as possible from the spot of the first, and in Woods' own words he decided to move it two yards back.
"I went down to the drop area, that wasn't going to be a good spot, because obviously it's into the grain and it was a little bit wet," said Woods.
"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. I felt that that was going to be the right decision to take off four right there. And I did, it worked out perfectly."
Woods' decision to move the ball further back has been deemed by officials to be a breach of the rules, carrying a two-shot penalty.
However, since Woods had already signed his scorecard for a 71, it could have been even worse for the 14-time major champion; signing for an incorrect scorecard comes with the penalty of disqualification from the event.
Before heading out for his third round on Saturday, Woods said on his Twitter account that "I understand and accept the penalty and respect the Committee's decision".
The fact that Woods avoided that fate is sure to be the cause of plenty of controversy as the tournament continues over the weekend.
The explanation appears to be that in 2011 golf's governing bodies changed the ruling which had caused Padraig Harrington to be disqualified after an opening 65 in Abu Dhabi in January of that year.
Harrington had already signed his scorecard when a television viewer raised the issue of his ball moving as he marked it on a green and because of that, the punishment could not just be a two-stroke penalty.
The Royal and Ancient Club and the United States Golf Association then announced a new interpretation to apply "in limited circumstances not previously contemplated" where disqualifications have been caused by scorecard errors identified as the result of recent advances in video technologies.
It covers the situation where a player is not aware he has breached a rule because of facts that he did not know and could not reasonably have discovered before returning his scorecard.
Under this revised decision and at the discretion of the (rules) committee, the player still receives the penalty associated with the breach of the underlying rule, but is not disqualified. Coincidentally, the new ruling started to be applied in the Masters in 2011.
The two organisations did confirm that the disqualification penalty still applied for scorecard breaches that arise from ignorance of the rules of golf.