Some on Twitter and commenting here, as did Jim Nantz and David Feherty on CBS's Masters evening highlight show, questioning whether Tiger Woods violated the rules and faces disqualification over an incorrect drop on the 15th hole Friday.
Tiger reportedly told ESPN's Tom Rinaldi in the post-second round interview and in this scrum with writers that he dropped his ball "two yards" behind the original spot after his third shot hit the flag and finished in the lake. A video replay on ESPN confirms that he was a good yard or two behind the original divot.
Shannon Rouillard explains the options for a ball entering a water hazard in this April, 2011 USGA article. Besides the provided drop circle, Tiger had these options:
2. play a ball as nearly as possible at the spot from which the original ball was last played (see Rule 20-5); or
3. drop a ball behind the water hazard, keeping the point at which the original ball last crossed the margin of the water hazard directly between the hole and the spot on which the ball is dropped, with no limit to how far behind the water hazard the ball may be dropped.
So technically, his ball LAST CROSSED on the green side of the lake, which would mean he had to drop as "near as possible" to the original location. The divot for that can be seen in the above photo when enlarged.
Will that be considered "as near as possible?" Is a deliberate "two yards" as near as possible?
If Woods deliberately played the shot two yards behind the original spot, that is not as near as possible. Considering Tiger's "rules are rules" comment after the round when responding to the Guan violation, it's going to be difficult for the committee to claim that he was as "near as possible" when he says he deliberately dropped a certain distance from the original spot.
Here are the video highlights from ESPN. You can see Tiger's play on No. 15 at the 2:00 minute mark.