The Woods Drop

Very rarely do major sporting events live up to the hype. So many times as fans, one feels left empty after watching the Super Bowl, the World Series or the BCS National Championship game. Luckily, major sporting events have been living up to the hype lately. This year’s Super Bowl was an enjoyable game between the 49ers and the Ravens, the NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship game between Michigan and Louisville was entertaining and golf’s first major, The Masters, ended in a two-hole playoff. Unfortunately, much of what will be remembered about The Masters is not that Adam Scott became the first Australian to win a green jacket, but that Tiger Woods took an illegal drop.

With the outright lead in his sights on Friday, Tiger Woods played a beautiful shot on the 15th hole. The shot hit the pin on the fly and bounced into the water. After recovering from the disappointment of his last shot, Woods took two steps back for his drop. Tiger peppered another shot right near the pin and ended up with a bogey.

Thanks to the “HD Rule,” a fan was able to call in and point out that Woods had taken an illegal drop. The review committee reviewed his drop and found nothing wrong with it. Woods then signed his card and went to do his interview. Woods said that he intentionally dropped his ball two feet behind his original shot. This little statement prompted the review committee to once again review the footage of Woods’ drop. After the deemed that he had indeed taken an illegal drop, the committee assessed Tiger a two-stroke penalty.

Many of those who follow the game were furious that Woods had violated one of the ridiculous number of the rules of golf. Not only did he interpret a rule incorrectly, but he signed the wrong scorecard. Signing the wrong scorecard is an automatic DQ under the rules of golf. Thanks to a rarely used rule, rule 33-7, the committee chose not to disqualify Woods. The rules committee believed it had erred in not telling Woods before he signed his scorecard that it was aware of a possible violation.

Still, announcers and golf enthusiasts from all over called for Woods to withdraw. People were furious that he was allowed to continue to play. But those who know Tiger knew that he would never withdraw from the tournament that means the most to him. The story clouded the tournament’s story lines last weekend and is still being talked about.

“From what I can gather, he took an illegal drop, signed a scorecard and left the course,” Steve Williams his former caddy-turned-critic, told a New Zealand  television station this week.  “Under most circumstances, that would result in disqualification. … If the rules of golf are upheld, I believe he should have been disqualified.”

Williams  was on the bag of the Adam Scott, the actual winner. While Williams acknowledges that Woods was not trying to gain any advantage, he still believes that he should have been disqualified.

As time passes, one can only hope that people let the Tiger drop fade away and remember what the final round of The Masters provided to viewers. A fantastic round which included Adam Scott sinking a birdie putt on 18 to take the lead after missing putts all day. Then, just minutes later,  Angel Cabrera going for the pin and sinking his own birdie putt to send the tournament to a playoff. And finally, Scott making a long birdie putt for the first Masters win by an Australian.

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