April 13, 2013
The 77th Masters has turned into a joke on several fronts and one man can erase most of the damage.
Tiger Woods has more power today, before he tees off, than he maybe has ever had at any time in his career. With the simple act of withdrawing from the tournament, painful as that may be, Woods can remove the controversy surrounding himself over his penalty drop at the 15th hole in the second round. His penalty drop, according to the rules, was supposed to be "as near as possible" to where his previous shot was taken from.
The video replay clearly shows that.
Tiger Woods, in a post-round interview, admitted that he looked to drop his ball two yards behind the spot his original shot was taken from. If two yards is "as near as possible" to his previous shot, then I am Arnold Palmer.
Woods himself, when commenting on the one-stroke penalty assessed against Tianlang Guan said "the rule are the rules."
The question, Mr. Woods, is, once again, do the rules apply to you?
Whether your penalty drop was out of ignorance of the rules or seeking to gain an advantage (which seems to be the case from your comments), you clearly violated a rule.
And for that, you should pay a price.
Here is how to handle the situation: Ask yourself what Augusta National founder Bobby Jones would have done in a similar situation. Then it's a no-brainer.
Jones would have withdrawn.
Tiger should too.
By withdrawing, Woods can take the rules officials and Augusta National off the hook for this situation and claim the higher ground. He can say that he isn't going to hide behind Rule 33-7 which gives the rules committee broad discretion to waive a disqualification. He can say "I am Tiger Woods and I play by the rules of golf."
And then he can let the geniuses at the Nike marketing department figure out how to capitalize on it.
By withdrawing, Woods can eliminate the possibility of a tainted Majors record. What happens if he comes from five strokes off the pace today and wins on Sunday? Forever will it be questioned in the minds of golf fans everywhere.
If Woods closes out his career with 19 majors and among those is the 2013 Masters, he will forever regret not withdrawing from this event.
Don't let that happen, Tiger.
Walk away. Today.