• The Masters

Woods faces possible disqualification over drop

Bob Harig | ESPN.com
April 13, 2013 « Live County Championship coverage | Chartbeat test »
Tiger's unlucky bounce

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Tiger Woods got a bad break when his approach shot to the par-five 15th green bounced off the flagstick and into the water during Friday's second round.

He might also have taken a bad drop. Masters officials are expected to review the situation on Saturday morning, which could lead to disqualification if it is deemed Woods dropped the ball in the wrong spot.

Because Woods signed his scorecard for a one-under 71 without adding the one-stroke penalty, he would be disqualified because he put a six on his scorecard instead of a seven.

Woods had 87 yards to the hole for his third shot and saw his ball hit the flagstick and then roll back off the green and into the water.

Under Rule 26-1, Woods had three options at the yellow-staked (not lateral) hazard, which is a pond that fronts the green:

* He could have played from a designated drop area, which he chose not to do because he did not like the lie.

* He could have dropped the ball, keeping the point at which it last crossed the margin of the water between the hole and the spot on which the ball would be dropped. Since the ball entered the water well left of Woods' position from the fairway, it would seem he did not choose this option, which would have allowed him to drop on a straight line as far back as he wanted.

* Or he could return to the original spot from which he played, and drop "as nearly as possible'' from where he played the third shot.

This is the option Woods took, and in interviews afterward, he said he dropped "two yards'' behind the original spot. Replays seemed to suggest he was closer than that, but the question is if that is considered "as nearly as possible'' to the original spot.

"I went down to the drop area, that wasn't going to be a good spot, because obviously it's into the grain and it was a little bit wet," Woods said.

"I went back to where I played it from, but I went two yards further back and I tried to take two yards off the shot of what I felt I hit. I felt that that was going to be the right decision to take off four right there. And I did, it worked out perfectly."

Woods' admission that he moved the ball further back, which could be deemed a breach of tournament rules, is at the centre of the controversy. It would carry a two-shot penalty. And as Woods has already penned his scorecard, the signing of an incorrect scorecard could lead to disqualification.

On a CBS-TV highlights show late Friday night, analyst David Feherty showed the replay and said he believed the drop was illegal.

Augusta National officials were not available for comment early Saturday morning, but golf's rules officials typically review any possible violations brought to their attention.

Bob Harig is the senior golf writer for ESPN.com. This article first appeared on ESPN.com

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