The Masters released a statement on Saturday explaining why the tournament decided to retroactively penalize Tiger Woods two shots after his round and not disqualify him from the tournament.
According to the Masters, which is one of the most exclusive clubs in the world, a “television viewer” called the tournament to tip off the rules committee about Woods’s potential illegal drop on the 15th hole. The Masters Rules Committee had determined Rules had complied with the rules as Woods was playing the 18th hole. Thus, according to the Masters, Woods did not sign an incorrect scorecard at the time he signed it based on their initial determination.
After Woods’s post-round comments in which he admitted moving the ball back “two yards” (Woods may have not been precise in his wording and could have meant two feet) to take better aim at the flag, the Masters determined to review the tape again and assess the penalty, which means Woods signed an incorrect scorecard.
However, a 2012 amendment to a rule protects Woods from signing an incorrect scorecard while not knowing he was doing so. That rule allows the tournament to assess the two-stroke penalty retroactively but also enables the tournament not to disqualify the player.
Here is the Masters statement:
In preperation for his fifth shot, the player dropped his ball in close proximity to where he had played his third shot in apparent conformance with Rule 26. After being prompted by a television viewer, the Rules Committee reviewed a video of the shot while [Woods] was playing the 18th hole. At that moment and based on that evidence, the Committee determined he had complied with the Rules.
After he signed his scorecard, and in a television interview subsequent to the round, the player stated that he played further from the point than where he had played his third shot. Such action would constitute playing from the wrong place.
The subsequent information provided by the player’s interview after he had completed play warranted further review and discussion with him this morning. After meeting with the player, it was determined that he had violated Rule 26, and he was assessed a two stroke penalty. 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