UPDATE: The Golf Channel and ESPN are both reporting Woods has been penalized two strokes.
Masters officials are reviewing whether Tiger Woods took an illegal drop on No. 15 yesterday. If they rule he did, it could result in an automatic disqualification as a result of signing an incorrect scorecard.
I’ve just been told by a high-ranking source that Augusta National is reviewing Tiger’s drop but “it may take a little while” #dropgate
— Robert Lusetich (@RobertLusetich) April 13, 2013
Woods’ third shot on the par-5 bounced off the flagstick and caromed into the water.
At that point, he had three options under Rule 26-1:
- He could have played from a designated drop area
- He could have dropped the ball at the point it crossed the boundary of the water
- He could have played from the original spot with a drop “as nearly as possible”
Woods chose the third option, but said in post-round interviews that he dropped a few yards behind the original spot. Replays seem to suggest it wasn’t quite that far off.
So what now?
Woods could disqualify himself, officials could do it for him, or they could rule in his favor.
It’s likely a decision won’t be reached until Woods is contacted.
Rules decisions have already been at the forefront of this year’s tournament. Fourteen-year-old Tianglang Guan was assessed a very unpopular one-stroke penalty for slow play.
Obviously, a Woods disqualification on golf’s biggest stage would dwarf that controversy.