Tiger gets out of the woods, but should he have?

– Andy Phillips contributed to this report

Controversy never seems to be too far away from Tiger Woods at the minute and that was the case again in the second round of the Masters at Augusta on Friday, April 12th, 2013.

TigerWoods
Following the Tiger Woods controversy, do the rules of golf need to be changed? Photo: Chase McAlpine (via Flickr)

The world number one received a two shot penalty after he illegally dropped his ball in the wrong position at the 15th hole.

It all started when he hit his approach shot, which was almost too good as it hit the flag stick and then span into the water. Under the rules, the player then has two options. He can either move the ball to a designated drop zone or choose to hit it from as close as possible to the original position. This is where Woods went wrong.

He decided to move the ball two yards back from its original position to make it easier for him to avoid making the same mistake again. This alone should result in a two shot penalty, but things were made even more awkward for him because he admitted what he had done in an interview afterwards.

By that time, he had already signed his scorecard and giving in an incorrect scorecard is another breach of the rules, one that generally results in disqualification from the competition.

The relevant authorities decided against disqualifying Woods and this is where the controversy has come in. Many believe that it was the wrong decision and that Woods’ reputation was the only reason that he wasn’t disqualified, whereas others have sympathy with him because it very much seemed like an honest mistake and Woods had got the rule in question mixed up with another.

In theory, players should know the rules and forgetting them shouldn’t be an acceptable excuse. However, when you consider that, you’ve also got to ask the question that if the best player in the world and one of the greatest players in golfing history can get confused then have the sport’s rules become too complicated?

It’s not an easy one to call and I have sympathy for everyone involved but, personally, I think the authorities should take the brunt of the blame here.

Some have stated the Woods should have taken the moral high ground and opted out of the competition himself for what he did. After all, players have chosen to do this before. However, regardless of what you think about his decision to carry on, the decision should never have been his to make.

Rules are rules and are there for a reason. If the rule is there in the first place then I think that the authorities should have a consistent punishment that they can hand out to everyone efficiently instead of judging each case individually.

Their hesitance to follow their own rules has resulted in a media frenzy that could yet up have more consequences in the future, not only on this competition but on others as well and I think that this is the biggest thing that should be taken from the incident.

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