In a golf season defined by bad weather, sunny Augusta keeps providing one rules storm after another.
A day after issuing an unprecedented slow-play penalty to a 14-year-old, the Masters Tournament rules committee is investigating whether Tiger Woods took an illegal drop on the 15th hole Friday and should be disqualified from the tournament.
Woods, who is tied for seventh at 3-under par, caught a bad break when his wedge to the 15th green hit near the bottom of the pin and caromed into the pond.
He dropped behind his original spot, hit his next shot to 3 feet and walked away with bogey.
The Rules of Golf gave Woods three options for his drop: the designated drop zone, on the line keeping the point where the ball entered the water between his drop point and the pin, or “near as possible” to his original spot.
Woods dismissed the drop area, and he said after the round that he couldn’t see what happened because of the setting sun in his eyes.
“Well, I went down to the drop area, that wasn’t going to be a good spot, because obviously it’s into the grain, it’s really grainy there,” he said. “And it was a little bit wet. So it was muddy and not a good spot to drop.
“So 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. And that should land me short of the flag and not have it either hit the flag or skip over the back. 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 was summoned to the course on Saturday morning to discuss the matter with the rules committee, and the tournament is awaiting word of any ruling.