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Tiger Woods record could have an asterisk now

April 13th, 2013 · 4 Comments

Tiger Woods suffered one of the worst breaks of his career when his third shot into the 15th green rebounded off the flag and into the lake, turning an almost sure birdie into a bogey. Now, as if that was not bad enough, he’s been socked with a two shot penalty for taking an illegal drop.

Woods, as he admitted, sought a better lie for his fifth shot by dropping a few feet further back to gain a slightly better angle for his shot. In the process, he unknowingly broke rule 26-1, which requires that he drop the ball as near as possible to where the previous shot was played.

So, Woods clearly broke a rule, putting the Masters committee in a no-win position. Their possibilities were three: 1) Tiger is given a break, and there is no penalty. This huge act of favoritism would not fly, so it was not taken; 2) he is disqualified, which is almost certainly the right thing to do; 3) Woods is assessed a two shot penalty, after the fact, and is allowed to continue.

The rules committee chose option three, and Woods will be allowed to play, though he will be at -1, not -3, when he tees off this morning.

So, what could or should Tiger do? According to the Golf Channel’s Brandel Chamblee, Tiger should disqualify himself rather than accept this gift from the Masters committee. But I would guess that he will not take would could be a career defining act of sportsmanship. And if he does not, and if he goes on to win the tournament, his fifth Masters title, and career total of majors, will need an asterisk. The record for most majors could then look like this someday:

Record for most major victories
Tiger Woods     19*
Jack Nicklaus    18
*Woods won the 2013 Masters when he should have been disqualified or resigned for signing an incorrect scorecard.

While I was hoping that something, like some additional talk about the leaders, would take some of the spotlight away from Tianlang Guan, I never wanted it to be something as bizarre as this.

Tags: The Game · The Majors · Tiger vs. Jack

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4 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Michael Cambridge // Apr 13, 2013 at 11:22 pm

    If Tiger wins and gets and asterisk, I’d like to know where’s the asterisk on Arnold Palmer’s first Masters win in 1958? Ken Venturi has been complaining for years that Arnold took an illegal drop for par, after playing an imbedded ball for double bogey.

    Venturi, in his book “Getting Up & Down: My 60 Years in Golf,” accused Palmer of cheating. My point is that the event never tarnished Arnold’s career, reputation or accomplishments. Very few fans seem to even know about the incident. If Tiger wins, he will have won under the existing rules of golf and people can say what they want to no effect.

  • 2 Michael Cambridge // Apr 13, 2013 at 11:37 pm

    It’s possible Tiger decided to DQ himself until he heard that Brandel Chamblee, Greg Norman and Nick Faldo fell all over themselves in a RUSH to PUBLICLY advise Tiger to “man up” and remove himself from the Masters. It’s nothing but a grand standing move and cheesy posturing by Tiger’s jealous media enemies to embarrass Tiger and make themselves look good to their media pundit base. What great defenders of the game’s integrity for the whole solar system to see.

  • 3 Phil // Apr 14, 2013 at 8:34 am

    Hi Michael, Your reference to the Palmer situation is most appropriate to this situation. This possible (or actual) infraction has, in my mind, put a little cloud over his win. While I like Palmer, I think he is overrated, and this win is one reason why. As for Tiger, if he wins, it will because the officials blundered to his benefit. I don’t think Tiger would DQ himself if the rules, no matter how bizarrely they are applied, can be cited as a reason for him to continue. I do agree that Chamblee was at his over-the-top best, and worst – and that his backpedaling later in the day way nauseating.

  • 4 Mike Cambridge // Apr 14, 2013 at 4:06 pm

    How do you DQ yourself from a dream?  Posturing for media and public approval is grandstanding and women and men who are “once in 100 year” talents are determined performers, not perfect people seeking approbation for character, integrity or even for “the game.”  

    Great achievers are uncompromising single minded winners like Jack, Tiger, Hogan, Jones and Snead.  Strong, arrogant, often disliked achievers usually set the benchmarks.  Nice people usually fall short. I’m sure well liked men like Mickelson, Duval and Stricker would have withdrawn from the Masters under Tiger’s circumstances.

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