The Final Say on Tiger’s Drop

This is, I hope, my final reference to the dropped ball.

We have had so much interest in our Q&A about “Tiger’s Drop” that I find myself compelled to link directly to a statement issued by the USGA and R&A regarding the incident at the end of this Q&A.

 To summarize very briefly:

Tiger became aware of his mistake many hours after signing his scorecard. However, prior to signing the card nobody discussed the drop with Tiger, or the fact that it had been questioned by a “TV referee”, and reviewed by the Committee, and a conclusion drawn that the drop was permissible.

The Committee’s decision was not to talk to Tiger about the drop, as it seemed to believe that the incident had been investigated and resolved. However, it was resurrected by Tiger’s recollection of the incident later in a press interview, which initiated the subsequent review by the Committee and a decision to waive the penalty of disqualification.

First, let me say that the statement issued by the USGA and R&A is an extraordinarily well documented sequence of the events and is a clear explanation and interpretation of the appropriate rules.

Second, quoting in part from the statement — “Woods was aware of the only relevant fact: the location of the spot from which he last played his ball. His two-stroke penalty resulted from an erroneous application of the Rules, which he was responsible for knowing and applying correctly. Viewing the incident solely from the standpoint of Woods’ actions, there was no basis to waive the penalty of disqualification under Rule 6-6d.” — says it all.

The waived penalty was simply because the Committee made a mistake in not talking to Tiger, and this was considered an ‘exceptional individual case.’

In effect, based on all of the facts discussed above, in this case both the competitor and the Committee reached an incorrect decision before the score card was returned.”

I have read the R&A and USGA’s statement three times and each time I come away with the same conclusion: that Tiger should know what the penalty is for signing an incorrect card and abide by his obligation, irrespective of a Committee error.

Please take a few minutes to read the entire, very well documented statement on the USGA or the R&A’s website;  

Make up your own mind and share comments by replying below


18 thoughts on “The Final Say on Tiger’s Drop

  1. Does the PGA have a record of how many if any PRO Golfers that have had more than one hole in one in a 18 holes round? Have an interesting story about a man in our area that had two hole in one in a 18 hole round. By the way, the man that did it is 75 years old. Just a young fellow, ha ha.

  2. If it had not been Wood’s making the mistake it would have had about 5 words and that would be the end of it. Wood’s knew the rule and if he had a question, ask for a field marshall.

  3. Tiger broke the rule. It was his responsibility to know the rule. He signed an incorrect score card. The committee is not responsible for Tiger’s actions. It called for a DQ, period. Roberto Devichenso(I’m sure thats misspelled) lost the Masters for signing an incorrect scorecard when he signed for a score higher than he actually got. Don’t bend the rules because of who it is, apply them the same for all! If the committee wouldn’t do the right thing, Tiger should have DQ’d himself for signing an incorrect scorecard. A rule he knows! JH

  4. I have read all the statements also and totally agree with the fact that irrespective of the committee deciding that it was an exceptional case because they had not talked to Tiger after reviewing the video and deciding that he had no case to answer. Subsequently he admitted during the press review that he had intentionally dropped in a wrong place. End of story if integrity is to be maintained from the spirit within. Bobby Jones was right! You might as well praise a man for not robbing a bank.

  5. Integrity, you either have it or you don’t, both in golf and in life. That being said, I think there is an opportunity to improve the rule for this situation to prevent a reoccurance.

  6. If I made as much money as Tiger and the other high end Pros, I would know the rules of the game, or have my caddie go to “Rules” school. The USGA is bending over to Tiger and his sponsors and afraid of being accused as being “Racist”.. If Tiger had any intergrity or guts he would have disqualified himself.

  7. While that may be the final say, there seems to be irrefutable evidence from the Augusta newspaper photos that he was only 3-4″ from the previous shot.

    Of course that brings up that it was his intention to break the rule, even if he didn’t. I intended to go 80mph, but only did 75mph.

  8. So Tiger didn’t know the rule regarding where to drop his ball after hitting it into the water. This is the same Tiger Woods who knew the rules well enough a few years ago to get spectators to help him move a boulder that was in his way, as a “loose impediment”, at a tournament. It appears that Tiger is only familiar with rules that benefit him.

  9. Tiger admitted he dropped the ball back from the original spot when interviewed 10 minutes after his round finished. That takes all interpretation of whether it was near enough to the original spot out of the discussion. He did not know the rule and signed an incorrect scorecard. He should have disqualified himself. Can you imagine Gary Player, Arnie or Jack not doing that?

  10. Again….Frank….your were the only one right on the $ on this one. The rest of the golf industry was reluctant to say that the Master Rules Committee made a mistake. You now have the R&A and USGA confirming your stance.

  11. In my opinion this whole discussion is foolish. No other sport will change decisions based on outside influence ( callers ) iMistakes are made all of the time and are part of the game. Imagine someone calling the NHL NBA NFL and expecting that rulings be changed after the fact based on Video evidence. Get over it it’s done !!!!. Golf rules should be changed to reflect this. No changes based on evidence presented after the fact on video by the Public..

  12. Frank, I reread the USGA explanation and it clearly states that the Woods situation was an exceptional situation. Tiger was out into a no-win situation. Since the Masters Rule Committee did make a ruling, if Tiger withdraws – it looks bad, lime im taking my toys and goung home, even rhough the riling was favirable… and if he stays – haters say he cheated. Look to see a decision written up on this situation…

  13. If the rules are so complicated as to require a committee and a whole bunch of pros to figure them oluit, maybe it’s time to simplify them so the riffraff like me can play to them.

  14. While i agree Tiger accepted the penalty imposed by the Committee (their bad for not approaching him and getting the facts before deciding to pass on the confrontation), Tiger had a chance to so something that would have been good for himself (perhaps qppreciable improving his public relations with the golfing masses due to his past personal indescretions), but, more importantly, doing something to further elevate the Game of Golf and further separate it from virtually every other sport being played….an athlete in Golf self imposes the rules of the game….does not wait for a referee or official to make the call. Tiger made the statement that he never saw Kobe Bryant call a traveling voilation on himself…well that’s what separates Golf from other the other sports and Tiger could have made a huge statement by self inflicting a DQ or WD penatly upon himself. A lost opportuinity both for himself and the Game…

    • I, along with many others I’m sure, agree. Furthermore, think of what example he could have set, in particular for junior golfers, had he WD citing it proper in the true spirit of the Game. It could have strongly reinforced many of the core values established in the First Tee Program which Tiger undoubtedly supports…

  15. Frank, the multiple mistakes certainly created a confusing situation, but the root cause of the problem seems to be the rule itself. “As close as possible” isn’t measurable and is open to interpretation. Imagine someone “fatting” a shot into the hazard. “As close as possible” could be in the divot!!!

    Why not change the rule to drop within two club lengths no nearer the hole? That would bring it inline with other penalty drops and eliminate the interpretation dilemma.

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