Did Tiger Woods’ take an improper drop on his third shot on the 15th hole? If Masters’ officials decide that he did, Woods could be automatically disqualified from the Masters.
As of right now, it’s all speculation but following his round, Woods said about his 87-yard shot on the 15th hole that ricocheted off the bottom of the pin into the water:
“I went down to the drop area, that wasn’t going to be a good spot, because obviously it’s into the grain and it was a little bit wet….So it was muddy and not a good spot to drop. So I went back to where I played it from, but I went two yards farther back and I tried to take two yards off the shot of what I felt I hit.”
So why is this grounds for him to be disqualified? According to CBS Sports, it has to do with the drop, per USGA rule 26-1:
…If a ball is found in a water hazard or if it is known or virtually certain that a ball that has not been found is in the water hazard (whether the ball lies in water or not), the player may under penalty of one stroke:
a. Proceed under the stroke and distance provision of Rule 27-1 by playing a ball as nearly as possible at the spot from which the original ball was last played (see Rule 20-5); or
b. Drop a ball behind the water hazard, keeping the point at which the original ball last crossed the margin of the water hazard directly between the hole and the spot on which the ball is dropped, with no limit to how far behind the water hazard the ball may be dropped; or
According to this explanation by the USGA regarding “b,” when a player’s ball crosses a hazard three times (which Woods’ did — the front of the water, the back of the water, and the roll into the water after the ball careened off the pin) this is how the drop is supposed to play out:
If a ball last crossed the margin of a water hazard as described in the situation above, it appears that the ball crossed the margin of the hazard three times (e.g., first, the initial time it crossed; second, when it crossed over the hazard onto land; and third, when the ball rolled back into the hazard). So when the Rule states that the ball must be dropped “keeping the point where the ball last crossed the margin of the water hazard directly between the hole and the spot on which the ball is to be dropped,” it is referring to the third (final) time. It is the reference point for the 26-1b option only.
If it is determined that Woods did indeed played a ball off the incorrect line, he should be penalized 2 strokes dropping his score from a 71 to a 73 and would have therefore incorrectly signed his scorecard — an automatic disqualification.
This is all a bunch of crap! First ball should have gone in the hole and he hit a money second shot recovery. Give the man his bogey and be done with it.