The biggest news of the Masters on Saturday happened on Friday.
After Tiger Woods hit his second shot on the par-5 15th hole in the second round, Tiger decided to take his one-stroke penalty and his fourth shot from where he hit his second shotoi the fairway. Except it wasn't where he hit his second shot, it was two yards further back. And that's illegal.
Problem was Tiger didn't know that, neither did his playing partner or the rules official walking with the group or the rules committee when it happened.
According to Rule 26-1: Relief for a Ball in a Water Hazard; Tiger had to drop his ball as close to his second shot as possible. But he didn't. It was two yards back. A TV viewer spotted it, called it in after Tiger admitted such and it prompted the Rules Committee to dock him a two-stroke penalty.
Here is a link to the USGA's Website and Rule 26-1:
This is where the grey area begins to seep in. Tiger signed his scorecard, which had a bogey six on there. By the rules of golf, if you sign a wrong scorecard, that is grounds for disqualification from the tournament. It is the rules of golf.
THE Masters Rules Committee sent out an official release announcing that they would not disqualify Tiger but dock him two strokes and allow him to play Saturday. National media members called for Tiger to withdraw. He did not, but admitted the mistake.
He took to Twitter to own up to it:
"I didn’t know I had taken an incorrect drop prior to signing my scorecard," Tiger tweeted. "Subsequently, I met with the Masters Committee Saturday morning and was advised they had reviewed the incident prior to the completion 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 penalty and respect the Committees’ decision."
Get all that?
Look, Tiger didn't intentionally cheat on the course or cheat the game. He made an honest mistake, I believe, one golfers make a lot on the course. And it's a shame that this large issue overshadowed his good third round, trying to remain in contention despite the penalty.
But the rules committee screwed up too. When the penalty was brought up by the viewer, they should have acted immediately. It's only their biggest tournament of Augusta National's existence. And it's a committee, not a single person. They have enough people that they could have acted before he signed the scorecard, and there would be no grumbling about it.
It did however overshadow the surprising story of Angel Cabrera coming from absolutely nowhere to take the 54 hole lead at the 77th Masters. What was the last tournament that Cabrera won? He has only TWO PGA Tour wins (both majors) and his best finish this season stateside was T13 in Houston. He is ranked 269th in the Official World Golf Rankings. If you had him as your 54-hole leader, then go bet on black now.
Brandt Snedeker didn't come from nowhere to hold his lead. The reigning Fedex Cup Championhas put himself into the group of the "best without a major." He would be a worthy champion, winning once on Tour this season already. He is an avid putter, and showed that off the first two days and then Saturday on Moving day.
Liked seeing Adam Scott get into contention on Saturday and hopefully he can come from the second to last group and win his first major. You'll remember that Scott gave away his only major chance to his point at the British Open. He putts the ball so beautifully and has that calm temperment that it would be no surprise seeing him wearing a green jacket for the first time.
Jason Day is that equation and along with Scott and Marc Leishman, he could be the first Australian to win the Masters. That's an unbelievable record to think about, considering all the great golfers from Australia, that no Australian has ever won the Masters.
So far, it's been a great Masters' Tournament, the one golf tournament that brings people that aren't normally golfers to the TV screen for a weekend. It has a rough history and Augusta National has angered many people (still does) in the past but the Masters' Tournament is great. There is nothing like it and as the cliche says, 'It's a tradition unlike any other."