Drew’s Morning Dish — Tues., April 16

April 16, 2013 | Drew Forrester

Tiger is the custodian of golf in America.

He’s the player virtually every young golfer aspires to be.

And when given the opportunity to do something extraordinary and accept responsibility for his own wrong-doing, he instead decided to let a seldom used rule save him.

He – with the power to virtually do whatever he wanted in the situation – chose to brush aside his chance to make a decision that would have been an invaluable teaching lesson for junior golfers all over the world.

Please don’t be the one who says: “Name someone else who would have disqualified themselves under those circumstances” — because there’s no possible way to answer that question without seeing others face the same situation.

I know this:  Tiger Woods had the chance to disqualify himself on Saturday and he didn’t.

Lots of people around the country are excusing Tiger by saying, “But wait a minute.  The new rule allows for the tournament committee to waive the disqualification penalty and just assess him the 2-shots he would have been penalized had it been discovered before he signed his scorecard.  If the committee tells Tiger he can play, he should simply tee it up and play.”

That might be a fair answer if you’re Robert Garrigus or J.J. Henry or some other guy you’ve hardly heard of who doesn’t impact the game in a manner even remotely close to the way Woods impacts the game.

Tiger Woods is golf in America.

He’s won the most tournaments.

He’s made the most money.

He’s the only player alive, right now, who will ever have a chance at catching the major championship record (18) held by Jack Nicklaus.

Tiger is the “custodian of golf”.

It’s his job to keep the game clean.

He should be different.

He should be a trend-setter.

Given the chance to set an example that would be remembered FOREVER, Woods ducked out and let the committee keep him in the tournament.

The Masters might have thought they were doing the right thing by allowing Tiger to play on Saturday and Sunday.  They clearly fouled up on Friday when they initially reviewed the improper drop at the 15th hole and didn’t see that Woods played his ball from a position two yards behind his original third shot.  To make up for their mistake, the Masters decided to invoke the bizarre rule that says, in essence, “You should be disqualified, but we’re going to call this an exceptional circumstance and allow you to continue playing.”

That was THEIR decision.

Woods could have risen above that decision and said, “Well, while I respect the fact that a new rule allows me to play the final two rounds, it’s my obligation to know the rules and abide by them.  And by signing an incorrect scorecard on Friday, I have no other choice but to withdraw from the final two rounds.”

Parents, coaches and even media members would have then had the opportunity to laud Woods for his sportsmanship and his dedication to rising above a free-spirited rule and sticking with the true nature of golf which is, in its simplest terms, “The score you sign for MUST be the actual score you shot.”

I don’t care what new rule is in place.  And no fancy wordsmithing can change the philosophy I wrote above — “The score you sign for MUST be the actual score you shot.”

If it’s NOT the actual score you shot, you have no choice but to disqualify yourself from further participation in that event.

That Tiger had that chance and squandered it is incredibly disappointing to me.

(Please see next page)

8 Comments For This Post

  1. PghSteve Says:

    Thanks for this long explanation. It certainly answers my question form a previous post.

    Wonder what baseball and football would be like of more players had the sort of integrity expected of golfers.

  2. Gil From Perry Hall Says:

    Please help me understand. The circumstances worked out that you were DQ from the tournament. But it appears to me, that you are saying that if the officials stated “Because of our complicity in the snafu, we are assessing you a two shot penalty and you can play on” that the honorable thing would have been to say no, regardless of your participation I should have paid more attention, I DQ myself. I get it sort of. It seems to me that the rules established seek to account for a myriad of conditions in order to normalize the game and let ability and the moment dictate a fair competition.

    You said all Tiger had to do was tell the truth. Did he lie (either explicitly or by omission)? If so, then DQ would have been the least of his worries as a bald faced lie in this circumstance would warrant a ban at the site, event or worse. I thought his drop was an honest mistake and that Tiger owned up to it when he became aware.

    I hear what you are saying but I am not getting the message. Perhaps this is because I am not a golfer. (DF: He only “owned up to it” after it was brought up to HIM. He didn’t own up to it. He was forced to own up to it.)

  3. The Armchair QB Says:

    No questioning Tiger Woods’ prominence in the world of golf. However, he has forfeited the mantle of “role model” in both his professional and personal life! As for the Masters fiasco, in 1968, Roberto de Vicenzoo had forced a tie in final round of the Masters with a birdie on 18, but was dropped to second place when he INADVERTENTLY signed an incorrect scorecard. Hypocrisy by any other name is still…..HYPOCRISY!

  4. Al from Arbutus Says:

    Nice article… agree with 99.9% of what you said… just 2 questions:
    1. – What happens when a player takes a drop on firm and sloping ground and it rolls more than 2 yards away from the original position? It seems like that might happen quite often…
    2. – What about these pictures (link to story at end of this post)… It looks like (maybe) even though Tiger said he dropped 2 yards away, maybe he didn’t… Typically, do pro golfers know EXACTLY where they hit their previous shot from? … Do they ALWAYS recognize their divot even if they’ve walked 100’s of yards to see where their ball landed and then have to walk back???

    (DF: If it rolls more than two club lengths away, you have to re-drop it. If it rolls closer to the hole, you have to re-drop it. He had his caddie stay at the spot to make sure he knew where it was. He also left a divot from his 3rd shot which CLEARLY showed where he played the shot from.)

  5. Jason Manelli Says:

    Drew, you are absolutely, 100% wrong. I don’t play golf but this was the best piece written anywhere about the Woods/Masters scoring situation. The way you tied it together with your own experience made me really understand the integrity underpinning golf, and the missed opportunity Woods had to teach everyone a little more about golf and himself. As to your anecdote about the Mid Atlantic tournament, all I cans say is, your parents and Glen Burnie High did something right and should be proud.

  6. pgavin Says:

    Very balanced post and spot on. The huge question for me is this. I have been to numerous Pro Golf events and whenever there is the slightest question about drops, sprinkler heads etc. the PLAYERS almost ALWAYS call in an ON COURSE official. So…. one can only conclude that Tiger KNEW that he was circumventing the rules for his own betterment.

    I once saw Tom Purtzer call in the Official when his ball landed on a burned out section(hard pan) right next to the green. Why doesn’t Tiger call in Rules guy???? No doubt that they would be “right there” to assist Tiger??? Amateur Mistake or Blatant Rules infraction????

  7. Chris Says:

    Don’t follow or play golf but this was an extremely informative and well written piece. It gave an extreme golf novice a clear understanding. Best piece I’ve read about this locally or nationally. The golf network needs to hire you to work for them. I have to say it again. What an expertly written article.

  8. joe of bel air Says:

    I don’t know why you are surprised Drew at TW. Anyone who cheats on his wife with a boat load of whores is certainly capable of cheating on the golf course. (DF: The two have ZERO to do with one another. There are PLENTY of pro golfers – well known publicly – who had marital break-ups caused by their infidelity and none were also found to be cheaters on the golf course. And again, YOU are calling Tiger a cheater. I’m not. As Seve said: “Cheating and not knowing the rules are two totally different things.” But keep up with your Tiger hate. It’s good for balance.)

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