Handling the Tiger Woods ‘drop’

The video above is one of the most unlikely outcomes you’ll ever see in golf — Tiger Woods’ ball bounces off the flag stick, nearly holing out from the fairway, and rolls about 20 yards into the water.

But it was his next shot that is under controversy Saturday morning at the Masters. According to Woods himself, his subsequent drop occurred two yards behind the shot that landed in the water, but was OK’ed by an official. A viewer called in a penalty on that shot, and it was then reviewed by Augusta National.

Woods could have been disqualified from the tournament for signing an illegal scorecard, but instead, officials assessed him a two-stroke penalty. He still has the option to disqualify himself, but why should he? Woods was told by an official that he was doing something within the rules, and only after he finished his round and signed his card did he find out that he broke a rule.

So instead of starting the third round three strokes back, Tiger will be five strokes behind leader Jason Day. To the people who say he deserves a stiffer penalty, I have to ask: why? If an official says your move is legal, what more do you need?

Secondly, Tiger’s every shot is televised, which isn’t the case for any other golfer on the Tour. If this exact same scenario played out with Rickie Fowler on the tenth hole or Thomas Bjorn on the third hole, there’s no chance it would be controversial because there’d be nobody watching at home to call in a violation. The fact alone that violations can be called in by fans at home is ludicrous. If the paid officials on the course don’t call a golfer on a violation, then it shouldn’t be called at all.

Predictably, the public has taken their side this morning based on what they already thought of Tiger, on and off the course. People who still want to see him fail are calling for Tiger to disqualify himself, and his supporters are supporting his decision to play the rest of the tournament. As for myself, I have a lot of respect for his accomplishments and what he means to the business of professional golf, but I’ve stayed away from the fringes of the debate. I understand both sides of the discussion, but I’ve chosen not to jump too far in either direction.

I will say I think it’s ridiculous to call on Tiger to quit the freaking Masters because of some goober at home who knows way too much about the rules of golf.

Here are some of the responses from social media as the story played out on Saturday morning:

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