Thursday, May 02, 2013


The controversy over Tiger Woods’ incorrect drop shot at last month’s Masters intensified on Wednesday night when the unnamed “television viewer” who telephoned tournament organisers to flag up the discrepancy was revealed as David Eger, one of the most respected rules officials in the game.

Woods was not disqualified after signing for the wrong score in the second round of the major because, according to Masters committee chairman Fred Ridley, his rules team had already made a call on the drop while Woods was still playing, after a “viewer” had rung in to voice their fears.
But Ridley did not reveal that the “viewer” was Eger, who has been a tournament director for both the USGA and the US PGA Tour. Eger revealed he called in to avoid Woods signing for the wrong score and thus disqualifying himself.
Embarrassingly, Ridley, after reviewing the videotape, chose against showing Woods the evidence before he signed the card – hence the decision to penalise him two shots for the incorrect shot retrospectively and not take the usual course of disqualification.
Eger, who now plays on the Champions’ Tour, told Sports Illustrated how he was watching on TV at home when Woods took the erroneous drop.
The world No 1’s approach to the par-five 15th had ricocheted off the flag and into the water, but instead of replacing the ball a “nearly as possible” in the original spot, Woods revealed in a press conference afterwards how he purposefully went two yards backwards because of the yardage. It was obvious he had unwittingly broken the rules, a fact Eger realised at the time.

“I could see there was a divot... when he played the shot the second time that had not been there the first time,” Eger said. “I could see that the fairway was spotless the first time he played the shot and there was that divot hole, maybe three or four feet in front of where he played after the drop.”
Eger could not get hold of Ridley on his mobile, so instead rang another rules official who relayed Eger’s suspicion. Ridley ultimately took no action.
Woods may well ask why he was not told about this query before he signed his scorecard, particularly as it came from such a reliable source. Woods continues to be criticised in many quarters for his actions.
On Wednesday, a joint statement from the game’s two governing bodies, the R and A and United States Golf Association, sought to clarify what many believed was an important precedent, identifying the rules committee as the culprit.
Part of their joint statement read: “It was determined that the initial ruling was incorrect and that the Masters rules committee had erred in first resolving the question without first seeking information from Woods and in failing to inform Woods of the ruling.”
The R and A and USGA basically closed the doors on future professionals, or tournament rules committees, invoking the “Woods” clause after signing for a wrong score, explaining that Woods only escaped because of an “exceptional individual case”. 
The identification of the “viewer” only served to prove how “exceptional” was Augusta’s error.
Woods is missing from the Quail Hollow Championship, which begins today, having elected to rest before next week’s Players Championship. 
Rory McIlroy, the world No 2, tees it up in Charlotte. Ian Poulter was one of nine players who withdrew from the event, with the speculation very much on the poor condition of the greens as the cause.



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