April 13, 2013

Woods gets 2-stroke penalty, but not disqualified

The Associated Press

(Continued from page 1)

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Tiger Woods takes a drop on the 15th hole after his ball went into the water during the second round of the Masters golf tournament Friday. On Saturday, Woods was slapped with a two-stroke penalty.

AP

He hit that fifth shot to about 4 feet and made the putt for bogey.

Rules 26-1 says that if a player chooses to go back to his original spot, the ball should be dropped as "nearly as possible" to the spot where it was last played. Photos and video shows his ball dropped at least a yard behind his previous divot.

"After meeting with the player, it was determined that he had violated Rule 26, and he was assessed a two-stroke penalty," Fred Ridley, chairman of the Masters' competition committees, said in a statement. He said the penalty of disqualification was waived under Rule 33 because the committee "had previously reviewed the information and made its initial determination prior to the finish of the player's round."

Rule 33 states that disqualification can be waived at the committee's discretion. However, a decision that accompanies this rule says that the committee would not be justified to waive the DQ if it was a result of the player's ignorance of the rules or if he could have reasonably discovered his mistake before signing his scorecard.

After walking off the course Friday, Woods complained that he actually played much better than his score indicated.

Little did he know his score would get even worse.

Day, a runner-up at the Masters two years ago, can be one of the most exciting players in golf when his game is on, and he was firing at flags from everywhere Friday. Even from the pine straw under the trees on the dangerous 11th, the Aussie took dead aim at the pin and set up a rare birdie to join the leaders.

His only blunder was hitting into the water short of the 12th, though he still managed to escape with bogey, and then he fired a 4-wood low enough to stay below the trees and avoid the wind on the 13th, setting up a two-putt birdie.

"My favorite tournament of the year," Day said. "I love this place."

He was cognizant of the guys behind him, though just as much burden comes from trying to be the first Australian in a green jacket.

"Obviously, there's a lot of pressure on my shoulders, being from Australia and no Australian has ever won the event," Day said. "They have been very, very close, but I've just got to try to get that out of my mind and just plug away."

Couples, who shared the 36-hole lead last year at the Masters, birdied the 18th hole for a 71 and will play in the final group with Day on Saturday.

Tied with unheralded Marc Leishman at 139, the 53-year-old Couples was asked what he might do if he becomes golf's oldest major champion?

"I'm going to quit when I win this thing," he quipped. "It's probably not ever going to happen, but I'm going to retire."

Former Masters champion Angel Cabrera birdied five of his last six holes for a 69 and was in the group two shots behind, along with former U.S. Open champion Jim Furyk (71) and Brandt Snedeker (70). There were five players at 141, including Adam Scott (72), Lee Westwood (71) and Justin Rose (71).

Still in the mix was Rory McIlroy, who turned his fortunes around with a 5-wood from about 275 yards that set up a short eagle putt. He added three more birdies on the back nine and had a 70, leaving him only four shots out of the lead going into the weekend.

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