Tiger's tale dominated the Masters even if he couldn't dominate the actual tournament

The controversy involving golf's No. 1 player and sports' most compelling figure overshadowed the eventual outcome.

Tiger Woods didn't win the Masters, but he certainly dominated its coverage — again.

There is not a more compelling figure in sports.

He is Notre Dame when the Fightin' Irish are relevant in college football. He is the Yankees in the World Series or Duke-North Carolina when they're both legit NCAA championship contenders in basketball.

People are drawn to this guy, even if it's to root like crazy against him.

The controversy surrounding Woods' re-do of his second-round shot on No. 15 on Friday resonated throughout the weekend and was even the No. 1 topic on sports-talk radio on Monday until those horrific explosions marred the Boston Marathon.

Tiger should have done this. Tiger should have known that. Tiger, Tiger, Tiger.

This was one of those cases where people who like Tiger — and despite his obvious flaws as a human being there are many who still admire his golfing talent — saw it one way, and those who despise him strongly argued the other way.

And in this case, those who argued against him wanted him out of the tournament.

Most people who don't follow golf intently — and count me in that group — didn't know the rules. They certainly didn't know that Woods' follow shot was illegal.

Evidently, Woods didn't either or why would he go on TV and admit as much in an interview that indicted him?

Woods told ESPN's Tom Rinaldi after his round, "I went back to where I played it from, but went two yards further back and I tried to take two yards off the shot of what I felt I hit. And that should land me short of the flag and not have it either hit the flag or skip over the back. I felt that was going to be the right decision to take off four (yards) right there. And I did. It worked out perfectly."

From that point, all of the TV analysts had to weigh in with The Golf Channel's Brandel Chamblee being the most vocal critic of Woods, even though The Golf Channel lacked initial coverage of the controversy on Friday night.

"If he doesn't disqualify himself, this will cast a dark shadow over the entire day of golf, over this entire event, but more importantly over his entire career for the rest of his life," Chamblee said in going way over the top in the drama department.

He also said: "The integrity of this sport is bigger than the desire to see Tiger Woods play golf today. I want to see Tiger Woods play golf. I have never seen anybody play golf like him. I want to see him make a run at Jack Nicklaus' majors record. I want to see that. But I don't want to see it this week; I don't want to see it under these circumstances."

The critics who said that any other player would have been disqualified do have the ratings on their side.

Ever since he became the face of golf in the late 1990s, when Woods is in final-round contention in tournaments, ratings generally increase by 50 percent or more.

CBS obviously knows that. The Masters people who negotiate the TV contracts knew it as well.

Would they have been more apt to toss someone out of the tournament like eventual winner Adam Scott or runner-up Angel Cabrera if they were in the same situation? That's a no-brainer.

The ratings for CBS' third round on Saturday were up significantly, especially at the beginning when the network spent the first 12 minutes of the broadcast detailing Tiger's two-stroke penalty.

Lead broadcaster Jim Nantz called Tiger's mistake "innocent" and "absent-minded."

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