Tiger Woods controversially avoided disqualification from the Masters Saturday when officials used their discretionary powers to impose a two-stroke penalty for taking an illegal drop during Friday’s second round.
The world number one, a hot favorite at Augusta National where he is a four-time champion, earned his reprieve following a lengthy review by Masters officials of a penalty drop he took at the par-five 15th. Woods suffered a freakish bounce with his third shot at the hole when his approach struck the flagstick before ricocheting backward off the green and then down the slope into Rae’s Creek.
Instead of going to the drop area on the far side of the water, he chose to play his fifth shot from the same place as his third, going two yards back before getting up and down from there to salvage a bogey six.
Woods appeared to be in potential trouble for violating Rule 26-1 which requires a player to drop the ball “as nearly as possible at the spot from which the original ball was last played.”
After meeting with Woods yesterday morning, the Masters competition committee determined that the 14-times major champion had violated that rule but would be allowed to remain in the tournament.
“The penalty of disqualification was waived by the committee under Rule 33 as the committee had previously reviewed the information and made its initial determination prior to the finish of the player’s round,” Fred Ridley, chairman of the competition committee, said in a statement.
Woods finished the second round at three under par, after shooting a one-under 71, but his score was changed to one-under, following the penalty, leaving him five strokes behind halfway leader Jason Day of Australia.