AUGUSTA – Tiger Woods was assessed a 2-stroke penalty at the Masters this morning in a drop penalty likely to last as long as Woods' storied golf career.
Woods' ball rolled into a pond after his third shot hit the flag stick on the 15th hole Friday. He dropped near the spot of the original shot, but not near enough. An improperly signed scorecard, technically, should have resulted in disqualification.
Woods with the penalty falls from 3 under par and three shots behind leader Jason Day to 1 under par and five shots back.
With controversy swirling, Woods still has the option of disqualifying himself before his 1:45 p.m. tee time.
Fred Ridley, the Augusta National's Competition Committee Chairman, explained the decision process late this morning:
“In preparation for his fifth shot, the player dropped his ball in close proximity to where he had played his third shot in apparent conformance with Rule 26. After being prompted by a television viewer, the Rules Committee reviewed a video of the shot while he was playing the 18th hole. At that moment and based on the evidence, the Committee determined he had complied with the Rules.
After he signed his scorecard, and in a television interview subsequent to the (third) round, the player stated that he played further from the point than where he had played his third shot. Such action would constitute playing from the wrong place.
The subsequent information provided by the player's interview after he had completed play warranted further review and discussion with him this morning. After meeting with the player, it was determined that he had violated Rule 26, and he was assessed a two stroke penalty. The penalty of disqualification was waived by the Committee under Rule 33 as the Committee had previously reviewed the information and made its initial determination prior to the finish of the player's round.
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