Tiger Woods: The Infamous 2013 Masters Controversy – 10 Years Later

KEY TAKEAWAYS
In the 2013 Masters, Tiger Woods took an improper drop and failed to add the two-shot penalty for the mistake, signing an incorrect scorecard, which led to a media frenzy and accusations of cheating.
Despite the controversy, Woods continued to play at an elite level, winning the 2019 Masters and tying Jack Nicklaus' record of 18 major championships.
The controversy prompted the USGA and the R&A to revise Rule 33-7, giving officials the power to retroactively waive disqualification for players who unknowingly breach the rules, but not in cases where a player knowingly breaches the rules, like in the case of Woods.
Many still argue that Woods should have been disqualified, while others say that the rules were followed correctly.
The rules have been amended since then, with some rules reworded and having different number classifications, stating that a committee cannot waive disqualification, and penalties are applied regardless of the situation.

Ten years have passed since the 2013 Masters, but the controversy surrounding Tiger Woods’ improper drop on the 15th hole still resonates with golf enthusiasts around the world.

What seemed like a simple bad break turned into a media frenzy that ultimately resulted in Woods being disqualified for playing from the wrong place.

Woods had just hit a perfect shot on the 15th hole during the second round of the 2013 Masters, which could have put him in the lead.

Instead, the ball hit the pin and bounced back into the pond, causing him to take a penalty stroke. In an attempt to recover, Woods took an improper drop, moving two yards back from the original spot instead of as near as possible, as required by the rules.

Despite Woods signing his scorecard without any incident, a viewer watching the tournament alerted Augusta National officials of the possible violation.

The viewer happened to be David Eger, a respected rules official who worked for the USGA and the PGA Tour.

Eger believed that if Woods was not informed of his infraction, he would sign for the wrong score, and if discovered later, would be disqualified.

Eger contacted Mickey Bradley, a PGA Tour rules official invited to work the tournament, and then-Fred Ridley, the chairman of the Masters rules and competitions committee, to look into the matter.

Ridley and the other officials believed that it was a technicality and did not penalize Woods, causing a media frenzy when the rest of the world realized what had happened.

The aftermath of the controversy

The Woods incident created a media storm that prompted the USGA and the R&A to revise Rule 33-7 in 2014.

The rule gave officials the power to retroactively waive disqualification for players who unknowingly breach the rules.

However, this rule does not apply to instances where a player knowingly breaches the rules, as in the case of Woods.

The controversy also affected Woods’ reputation, who was accused of cheating and had to face the media’s scrutiny for his actions.

While many supported Woods, others believed that he deserved to be disqualified for breaching the rules, regardless of whether it was intentional or not.

Despite the controversy, Woods continued to play at an elite level, winning the 2019 Masters and tying Jack Nicklaus’ record of 18 major championships.

He also became a mentor to young golfers and spoke openly about his personal struggles and the lessons he learned from the controversy.

Tiger Woods’ infamous 2013 Masters has been a talking point in golf ever since, with debates still raging over whether he was given special treatment when he was not disqualified for an incorrect scorecard.

Woods, who was competing for his fifth green jacket, hit a shot that hit the flagstick and went into the water at the 15th hole.

He took an improper drop and failed to add the two-shot penalty for the mistake, signing an incorrect scorecard.

Social media commentators weighed in and video footage was scrutinized, leading to speculation that Woods would be disqualified.

While many supported Woods, others believed that he deserved to be disqualified for breaching the rules, regardless of whether it was intentional or not.

The Controversy

The controversy continued when people arrived at the course on Saturday morning, with many talking about the possibility of Woods getting bounced from the tournament.

The Masters committee had admitted that it had not informed Woods of a possible infraction, which led to many accusations that he was getting special treatment.

But it wasn’t until a few weeks after the tournament that it was discovered that the person who called in the violation was Eger, a respected rules official.

The Fallout

Woods was eventually given a two-shot penalty instead of being disqualified, and finished the tournament tied for fourth, four shots back.

Many still argue that he should have been disqualified, while others say that the rules were followed correctly.

Woods himself downplayed the controversy, suggesting that it was all handled routinely. Golf’s rules have been amended since then, with some rules reworded and having different number classifications.

Now, the rules state that a committee cannot waive disqualification, and penalties are applied regardless of the situation.

Craig Miller

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