The Tiger's not for turning: Woods defies calls to quit after controversy over rule breach at Masters

 

AUGUSTA

What rules controversy? Tiger Woods goes into the final day of the Masters just four shots off the lead when he might have been taking the kids to the park as a disqualified golfer.

Woods teed off in the third round mired in turbulence after taking an incorrect drop on Friday. Under the regulations that govern disqualification Woods risked omission on the grounds of signing for an incorrect score.

However, after being hauled before the beak at breakfast yesterday, he escaped with a two-shot penalty and rattled off a 70.

Brandt Snedeker and Angel Cabrera go out in the final group today on seven under par but both will know of the danger that lurks in a red shirt on Sunday.

Woods was leading the tournament when his ball hit the flag at the 15th on Friday and rebounded into Rae's Creek. He took a penalty drop on the line that the ball crossed the water instead of the correct place determined by where it entered the hazard. This incurs a two-shot penalty, not the one he added to his score. As a result he signed for an incorrect score, which ordinarily incurs a disqualification.

The Masters Competition Committee were alerted by a television viewer that Woods might have contravened the regulation but they initially determined that he had not done so.

It was only afterwards, when he explained to journalists that he had chosen to drop two yards behind his original shot, that this testimony turned toxic and demanded further scrutiny by the committee yesterday morning.

Woods escaped disqualification on the grounds that the committee had failed to spot the error when they had the opportunity to impose a penalty, which would have enabled him to sign for the correct score.

Woods said yesterday: "I didn't know I had taken an incorrect drop prior to signing my scorecard. Subsequently I met with the Masters committee Saturday morning and was advised they had reviewed the incident prior to the conclusion of my round.

"Their initial determination was that there was no violation but they had additional concerns based on my post-round interview.

"After discussing the situation with them this morning I was assessed a two-shot penalty. I understand and accept the decision and respect the committee's decision."

That did not wash with some, including in the first instance Sir Nick Faldo, who claimed that Woods should walk or carry the stain of participation for the rest of his career. Faldo later rowed back from that view, citing a better understanding of the anatomy of the episode and how the timeline evolved.

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