The Masters, Round 2: Crouching Tiger, Vigilant Rules Official
By Torleif Sorenson on 4/12/13
When we all went to sleep Thursday night, the stormy weather forecast overnight gave us the impression that Friday might yield a field day for the Masters Tournament field at Augusta National. Instead, the golf course fought back — most shockingly at 15, which CBS's David Feherty described as "a cruel mistress today."

The first stunning development: Tianlang Guan, the 14-year-old Masters rookie, was assessed a penalty stroke at 17 for slow play. At first, some viewers thought it rather harsh — even a few conspiracy theorists voiced their thoughts. However, Masters Tournament Competition Committee Chairman (and former USGA president) Fred Ridley, issued the following explanation in a prepared statement:
"Tianlang Guan was assessed a one-shot penalty for violation of Rule 6-7 of the Rules of Golf and the Tournament’s Pace of Play Policy. His group, which included Ben Crenshaw and Matteo Manassero, was deemed out of position on No. 10. Guan began being timed on No. 12 and received his first warning on No. 13 after his second shot. In keeping with the applicable rules, he was penalized following his 2nd shot on the 17th hole when he again exceeded the 40-second time limit by a considerable margin."
Amazingly, he still got in under the cut line, allowing him to play the weekend. If Guan had missed by a shot, this writer suspects that most oobers and viewers would have been up-in-arms. To his credit, Guan accepted the penalty with considerable sportsmanship and maturity.

However, given the disgracefully slow play on Monday of the PGA Tour stop in San Diego, some of us feel that it's about time that stroke penalties be handed out on-the-course for slow play, a cancer that is eating away at the popularity of our game. The last time a slow-play stroke penalty was given at a major championship was to Steve Lowery at the 2004 PGA Championship at Whistling Straits in Wisconsin.

The second shocking moment of the day occurred on the 15th hole, four hours later. Tiger Woods had gotten birdies at 5, 7, and 8 in order to get to -5, hitting 13 consecutive fairways going back to Thursday afternoon. On the 15th tee, Tiger blocked his tee-shot into the trees right of the fairway. Intelligently, Woods decided to lay up short of the water, giving himself a comfortable wedge into the green. But at 6:31 p.m. EDT, Tiger's perfect wedge proved to be just a little too perfect. Stunningly, the ball caroomed squarely off the flagstick and deflected into the water hazard.

"You have GOT to be kidding me!" exclaimed CBS announcer Vern Lundquist.

"Royally cheated," gasped an amazed David Feherty. "He could barely have played it better!!"

Watching the slow-motion replay on ESPN gave some of us viewers a sickening sort of twinge in our stomachs. Admirably, Woods hit another lovely pitch toward the flag, yielding as impressive a "6" as you're likely to see at 15.

Rickie Fowler burned the edge of the hole at 15 with an attempted birdie, then face-planted at the 16th with a tee-shot into the water and a resulting triple-bogey 6.

Slowly but surely, however, Jason Day crept up the leaderboard with a 68. Tarnished only by bogeys at 4 and 12, Day had six birdies to go to the weekend with a one-shot lead at -6, powered by a birdie at 16 that gave him the solo lead at 6:59 p.m. EDT.

Australian Marc Leishman and 1992 Masters champion Fred Couples hung tough in windy conditions; Couples followed a 69 on Thursday with a 70 today, inching up the leaderboard to -5 going into Saturday. Leishman coughed up two strokes to par, then righted the ship with birdies at 7 and 8 before bogeying the 14th.

Lurking behind them is an impressive trio at -4. 2009 Masters champion Angel Cabrera rattled off consecutive birds at 14, 15, and 16, then again at the closing hole to get to the weekend with a 69, tied for fourth with Jim Furyk and Brandt Snedeker. A log-jam of contenders trails at -3, including David Lynn, Lee Westwood, Justin Rose, K.J. Choi, and the aforementioned Woods.

Dustin Johnson and Sergio Garcia followed up their impressive first rounds with awful second rounds; Garcia slipped four to -2, while Johnson, who had surged to a solo lead at -7 at the 13th hole, collapsed with double bogeys at 15 and 18 to limp into the weekend at -1. Garcia strikes this writer as being the kind who can still stay in the hunt, given a good performance on Moving Day. Johnson, however, seems to be having more serious problems.

Given the drama on Friday at Augusta National Golf Club, we can only hope that Saturday and Sunday are at least as exciting.

The weekend weather forecast for Augusta:
Saturday should be gorgeous, with sunny skies and a high near 79° F. Northwest winds should be less than 10 miles per hour.

Sunday could be a problem, with a 30% chance of showers after 3:00 p.m. EDT. Before then, the forecast calls for a high of 78° F with easterly winds of 5 to 7 mph.


Masters Leaderboard


Image via Flickr, pocketwiley


[ comments ]
iangroen says:
The second shocking moment will be alot more shocking if Tiger gets DQed. I have no problem with him being assessed an extra penalty stroke on the round but I think not being able to change a signed scorecard, instead being disqualified, is a little archaic on some of these obscure rules.
4/13/13
 
...the Murseless says:
It is what it is. Augusta is trying to get out of the DQ by using the new exceptional circumstance rule, but Tiger himself admitted to the rule violation himself - he new what he did before signing his card, he just didn't realize he had broken a rule. This is not the same as a couch potato Columbo with high def slow mo looking for a leaf or a twig moving at 2:00am the next morning.

If he doesn't DQ himself, it will be really bad for Tiger. It already looks like Augusta National has a double standard in place.
4/13/13
 
clevelandstever says:
They hit the 14 year old with a slow penalty, basically saying, "Hey, it's the Masters, no exceptions". But Tiger? Exceptions will be made. What tournament was it years ago when he hit the roof of the clubhouse and it was deemed a "temporary immovable obstruction"? The pyramids are temporary too, in ten thousands years or so they will be gone. Tiger gets the benefit of the doubt because they want him on TV because it gets ratings.
4/13/13
 
legitimatebeef says:
Really unfortunate turn of events and to think it all came about from a seemingly near-perfect wedge approach to 15. It seems like they are trying to maybe implement this new rule, which seems like a reasonable one, but to invoke for this player in this situation is going to do nothing but set off mass hysteria.
4/13/13
 
legitimatebeef says:
Already really unfortunate about Guan's penalty, if only because it totally eclipsed his actual play, which as a fan of golf I would think is of utmost curiosity. How did this boy manage this 7200y monster course with diabolical greens? How far was he driving it, what clubs did he hit into greens, how was his shot selection around the greens? This to me, is the real meat of the story and ONCE AGAIN the golf media completely misses the point. This is why I maintain that golf reporting is completely broken in 2013. Golf is a unique spectator sport in which the majority of spectators are also practitioners if you will of the same game. Enough with the human interest BS, enough with the sensationalistic jive-talk, someone please tell us the nitty-gritty of the story...the golf itself.
4/13/13
 
Ianinho says:
@legit completely agree, his average drive was around 270 which is ridiculous for a 14 year old but he was still hitting hybrids into holes like 10 and 18 where others were hitting 7-9 irons.

Tiger should have been Dq'd, that 2011 rule should not apply because it was not a matter of video technology identifying the rule breach
4/13/13
 
legitimatebeef says:
I envision two scenarios unfolding here, either Woods goes on to win which would be a huge blessing slash curse and people will never shut up about a tainted win, or B) Angel Cabrera sneaks under the radar while the whole world is busy wringing hands over the Tiger flap and wins a second Masters. Which I would be okay with. The guy seems like a real maverick and it the world of golf that is a special thing to be. Then again I had a vision a few days ago of Rory putting on the green blazer so I don't exactly put real faith in these so called visions of mine.
4/13/13
 
falcon50driver says:
Wringing hands and fretting here.
4/13/13
 
elindholm says:
I'm confused about Woods's penalty. Wasn't he in accordance with Rule 26-1(b)? He went into a water hazard and took a drop back from the point where the ball went in, "with no limit to how far behind the water hazard the ball may be dropped."
4/13/13
 
Sparker1969 says:
I expect the Green Jackets to tell CBS it has one solid minute to devote to this on today's telecast then move on to the golf.

Also, Brandle Chamblee may need to look into getting rabies shots.
4/13/13
 
Sparker1969 says:
Elindholm, Tiger was proabably confused too. Often a player will dunk that shot into the pond and then move further back to get a better shot with a full wedge. However, Tiger's shot hit the pin and rolled into the pond at a different angle. His choices were same spot, drop area or the line where the ball crossed the hazard which was way off to the left of where he was.
4/13/13
 
legitimatebeef says:
elindholm I'm not positive but I think that he didn't choose that option but instead chose to hit from the same spot. He had the option to keep the point of entry between himself and the hole, but that line would've been somewhere else completely, far left of the original lie. Since he chose to re-hit, I guess it was deemed that the drop was not close enough to the original lie.
4/13/13
 
elindholm says:
Thanks Sparker and beef. Having seen only jerky replays, I didn't realize that the carom took the ball so far off of his original line.
4/13/13
 
legitimatebeef says:
I like how at this moment the golf world is practically on fire, massive uproar, and I come to the Oob and it's crickets. That's so Oob. Oob being Oob.
4/13/13
 
jwsilvers says:
Im sick of the tiger haters all the greg normans out there. does a QB DQ himself from the game when he knowingly snapped the ball late, does a basketball player throw himself out after he knows he fowled someone and wasnt called for it hell no the is ridiculous. He hits a phenominal shot that nails the flag and heads to the ocean, then he sticks his next shot and rolls the putt, "amazing" cant we just enjoy great play. I hope he goes out dominates and blows the whole field away. fuc the haters. theres a reason golf has a reputation of being the old white racists guys sport, its because of issues like this. If he was white, people would'nt be saying he should DQ himself.
4/13/13
 
BlameMe says:
@jwsilvers - What absolute crap! what the hell has race got to do with it? He broke a rule and admitted to doing it. Simple disqualification for anyone else so why is Woods different?
4/13/13
 
jfurr says:
He intentionally took an illegal drop, signed incorrect scorecard, and got away with it. That's the way it looks to me.
4/13/13
 
aaronm04 says:
As I understand it, the rule modification following Padraig Harrington's phone-in penalty several years ago was for players who do not know that an infraction has been committed. In Harrington's case, he did not know that his ball rotated as he removed his ball mark (as best I recall). Per USGA's web site, this modification--and waiver of the DQ penalty for signing an incorrect score card--does NOT apply to someone who does something and does not know that something is against the rules. By Woods' own admission, he dropped the ball two yards behind his original divot. Hence, he would not be protected by the modifications that prevent a DQ. Maybe I'm missing something, but all of the commentators are stating that him being allowed to remain in the tournament is within the rules of golf, which I disagree with.
4/13/13
 
jwsilvers says:
he didnt know he couldnt go back further he thought he was within the rules otherwise he wouldnt have done it, do think hes that stupid he knows every camera and every hater is out there trying to knock him down. Ya and this game is full of racists, and Im a white guy who has stood on many t boxes and heard many golfers act as if there above anyone who is not white or male on there course and there usually the same guys who dont repair divots or rake bunkers.
4/13/13
 
elindholm says:
Aaron, I keep hearing reports that Masters officials reviewed Woods's drop right after the conclusion of his round and concluded it was legal. So if they look at it and tell him it's legal, he's not signing a fraudulent scorecard. Then in his postgame press conference he talked about the drop and explained his decision to go two yards back, and that's what prompted the re-examination. I guess the interpretation is that the press conference is "television evidence" and outside of what was observed during the normal course of play. I'm not sure I agree with that, but it's a logically defensive ruling, I guess.
4/13/13
 
Werepuppie says:
The Masters Commitee made the right call.They knew there was a question about the drop while Tiger was still playing.They reviewed the footage and decided there was no foul.At that time Tiger was on hole 18.If they had decided it was a violation,they would have met Tiger in the scorers area to discuss it BEFORE he signed the card.
Only after Tiger mentioned it in his post round interview did it become a problem.Therefore considering that they could have prevented him from signing the card,but decided there was no foul,the wavier on the DQ seems proper.
4/13/13
 
oobscott2 says:
Im betting that Tiger wish he had never said he dropped it 2 yards back of where he had hit... In that case, no 2 shot penalty he is in much better position for tomorrow
4/13/13
 
...the Murseless says:
Werepuppy: it's irrelevant whether they reviewed the drop before the end of the round: the player is penalized or not based on his own actions, not those of the rules committee. At any rate, from what I've read, they did not discuss their initial ruling with Tiger. So as far as he was concerned, the committee's initial review did not even take place.

From Tiger's perspective, here is the timeline: dropped ball incorrectly; finished round; signed scorecard; admitted that he dropped ball behind where he was allowed in order to gain an advantage; the rules committee listened to recording of Tiger admitting to consciously dropping the ball behind the allowable position; the rules committee made the decision that the drop was done incorrectly, and penalized Tiger with a two stroke penalty.

Imagine this occurred to another player, one who's drop wasn't televised. There's no question they would have been DQ'd. But from the player's perspective, there would have been no difference.
4/14/13
 
...the Murseless says:
oobscott2: so -you are suggesting that Tiger would have been better off if he hadn't been caught breaking the rules..?
4/14/13
 
elindholm says:
Now there's photographic evidence that Woods's drop was legal after all. What a mess.
4/14/13
 
...the Murseless says:
No. The rule states that the drop must be as close as possible to where the original was played and would ordinarily be a judgement call. Tiger, however, admitted to improving his position by consciously dropping behind that spot. There is no minimum or maximum distance specified in the rule - just that the drop must be as close as possible.

By admitting to dropping behind the spot in order to get a better position, that is evidence that the drop was not as close as possible and moreover that was Tiger's actual intent.
4/14/13
 
elindholm says:
If Woods really thought that he was dropping two yards back, then he didn't know where he'd hit his earlier shot from, because the photos sure make it look like he's a lot closer than two yards. If there's no divot and no other way to pin the previous location down specifically, then I don't know how close "as close as possible" is.

The intent question is different. If he intends to drop it two yards back but in fact drops it within a few inches -- which surely would meet the "as close as possible" standard, under the circumstances -- then I suppose it should still be a penalty. But it's also possible that he got confused in the press conference and misremembered what was going through his mind during the drop.
4/14/13
 
...the Murseless says:
There was a divot in this case, and the pictures show the dropped ball between 5 and 7 feet behind the divot (see picture): www.cbssports.com/golf/blog/eye-on-golf/22064932
4/14/13
 
elindholm says:
Yep, you're right, that video is much better than the still photos I saw. So never mind then.
4/14/13
 
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