The Augusta National Golf Club competition committee issued the penalty for his drop at the par-5 15th hole in Friday’s second round, a violation that could have led to his disqualification.
Instead, Woods fell from three to five strokes behind leader Jason Day of Australia but was allowed to continue playing in the year’s first major championship. A rule change last year governing such situations allowed for a two-stroke penalty, rather than disqualification for signing an incorrect scorecard, for a player who unknowingly makes a penalty.
“The penalty of disqualification was waived,” said committee chairman Fred Ridley, who added that a television viewer prompted the committee to review the shot on Friday and at that time it decided he had complied with the rules. But comments by Woods in a TV interview after the round prompted tournament officials to take another look at the drop, leading to the penalty and calls by some former players to withdraw.
Woods, in a series of Twitter postings, issued a statement about his version of the situation Saturday before his third round began. “At hole #15, I took a drop that I thought was correct and in accordance with the rules. I was unaware at that time I had violated any rules,” he wrote. “I didn’t know I had taken an incorrect drop prior to signing my scorecard.
Subsequently, I met with the Masters Committee Saturday morning and was advised they had reviewed the incident prior to the completion of my round. Their initial determination was that there was no violation, but they had additional concerns based on my post-round interview. After discussing the situation with them this morning, I was assessed a two-shot penalty. I understand and accept the penalty and respect the Committees’ decision.”