AP- (Augusta, GA)
Augusta National has ruled on the Tiger Woods ball drop from late Friday and instead of disqualification he is being assessed a two-stroke penalty based on USGA rule 33-7.
There was a lot of buzz on Friday night and Saturday morning that Woods might be disqualified for incorrectly signing his scorecard based on an erroneous ball drop on hole No. 15 after hitting his ball in the water.
However, the drop was given a two-stroke penalty instead. Tiger is now five strokes behind leader Jason Day.
Rule 33-7 states:
A penalty of disqualification may in exceptional individual cases be waived, modified or imposed if the Committee considers such action warranted.
According to USA Today:
The USGA passed a rule a year ago that gives players an out when they unknowingly break a rule which is then spotted on high-def TV.
The rule in question is USGA rule 26-1 which states:
It is a question of fact whether a ball that has not been found after having been struck toward a water hazard is in the hazard. In the absence of knowledge or virtual certainty that a ball struck toward a water hazard, but not found, is in thehazard, the player must proceed under Rule 27-1.
If a ball is found in a water hazard or if it is known or virtually certain that a ball that has not been found is in the water hazard (whether the ball lies in water or not), the player may under penalty of one stroke:
a. 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 (see Rule 20-5); or
b. Drop a ball behind the water hazard, keeping the point at which the original ball last crossed the margin of the water hazard directly between the hole and the spot on which the ball is dropped, with no limit to how far behind the water hazard the ball may be dropped; or
Woods did neither. His ball entered the water to the far left of where Woods is standing in the photo below so "b" doesn't apply because he didn't "keep the point at which the original ball last crossed the margin of the water hazard directly behind the hole and his drop."
But "a" doesn't apply either because he wasn't "playing a ball as nearly as possible at the spot from which the original ball was last played." He was clearly a couple yards back from the original spot.
Woods actually called himself out in his post-round press conference yesterday:
"So I went back to where I played it from, but I went two yards farther back and I tried to take two yards off the shot of what I felt I hit."
"Two yards farther back" is hardly "as nearly as possible at the spot from which the original ball was played."