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Rule 33-7 Has Been Around Since 1952

Kendra Graham provides another solid explanation of the Masters Competition Commitee's use of Rule 33-7 to remedy Chair Fred Ridley's mistaken initial ruling on Tiger's illegal drop.

Rule 33-7 is not new; it has been in the book, according to my research, since 1952. Rule 33 (The Committee) outlines all of the responsibilities of the Committee in charge of a competition and is one of the longest Rules in the book. Its counterpart is Rule 6 (The Player), which highlights all of the player’s responsibilities. There is a relatively new Decision 33-7/4.5 (went into effect in 2011 and was revised in 2012), which often was mentioned in connection with this ruling. It really had very little, if any, bearing on the decision made by this Committee. The wording of Rule 33-7 is quite broad and lets the Committee use their discretion in waiving, modifying or imposing a penalty of disqualification. (They do not have that right in regard to waiving or modifying a lesser penalty, e.g., one stroke, two strokes, loss of hole.)


In conclusion, it is important to keep in mind the words found in Rule 34-3, Committee’s Decision. In the absence of a referee, any dispute or doubtful point on the Rules must be referred to the Committee, whose decision is final.

Hey, so maybe not having a "referee" (walking official) helped too. Then again, it's hard to imagine any referee watching Tiger's drop and allowing him to get away with it in the first place.

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Reader Comments (11)

I'm pretty clear on what I believe happened, words are words (as given by that committee) I tend to look for the actions that match those words. And in this instance the actions by the committee (if a 911 caller ever did call in) are completely absent from the correct protocol.

The definition in the rules book as to what constitutes a ruling is defined. Its called What Is The Ruling. These are the grounds and foundation that creates a ruling. Fred Ridley's committee never created the correct foundation in what he referred to Saturday morning as "a ruling". Missing were 2,3,4 of the definitions of What Is The Ruling, so without establishing the correct criteria his committee never could have made a "ruling", and without a ruling they certainly couldn't have rendered a decision. Without those they had no sufficient grounds to waive Tiger's taking an illegal drop and subsequently signing an incorrect score card. Fred Ridley's committee were not within the rules, they were operating outside the rules, essentially making them up as they went along.

Chronological Order.
Never officially established grounds for a ruling.
Without ruling, no decision was possible.
911 caller story (I don't believe them)
player takes wrong drop
player signs incorrect score card
player reveals in post round interview his intent as to the drop he's taken, its an illegal drop
committee concocts a cover story that night after Jim Nantz calls them.
Committee claims a 911 caller phoned in, says they made a review and a ruling but don't tell Tiger about it.

i have to stop here, and here's where this story becomes total bullshit for you novices.

Rule 34-3/9 imposes a responsibility on the Committee. Rule 33 and Rule 34 holds a responsibility on the committee just like all the other rules hold the player responsible, so the committee has its own responsibilities within the rules that it has to follow.

If the committee got a 911 call during Tiger's round (which I don't believe they did) the first thing to establish is what was the caller calling in about? What is the accusation? A player took an improper drop. Ok, and so a review of the video shows Tiger Woods taking two steps back from his original divot and dropping. The committee only has two things at this point to go on. An accusation, and video that matches perfectly with that accusation. If you were going to make a judgement call at this point it would have to be a two shot penalty, but that wouldn't be fair to the player would it. And why is that? Because the committee doesn't seek Tiger Woods testimony, nor his playing competitors. The definition of What Is A Ruling clearly defines the foundation required to "make a ruling". Number four in the definition is find out what the players intentions were. You have a 911 caller accusation, you have video that supports the accusation, but you don't have Tiger Woods testimony, his intent. Can you see why this committee could never have reached a ruling? You see, with the 911 caller accusation, and conclusive video matching the accusation the committee still can't complete a ruling. They couldn't slap Tiger Woods with a two shot penalty without doing the most fundamental thing required in making a ruling, they don't have Tiger Woods testimony as to how he went about his drop. This committee couldn't rule either way without ascertaining Tiger Woods intent. Without Tiger Woods intent being known to this committee, this committee was not within the rules to claim they made a ruling. In fact they had not made a ruling.

The people on this committee are not that incompetent, there not.!!

After the alleged 911 call, and watching the video, Rule 34-3/9 becomes this committees responsibility. Its this committees responsibility because their responsibility is to every contestant in the competition. 34-3/9 says to the committee, you have the 911 caller testimony, now you have to go get Tiger Woods testimony to the incident of a possible rules infraction. Do we see Fred Ridley's committee operating within Rule 34-3/9? No, the committee does not fulfill this responsibility. Thats how we know a ruling never took place.

Next this committee has to follow these rules....Rule 1-3 players themselves are not allowed to waive rules.
Rule 6-1 The player and his caddy are to know the rules
Rule 6-6d Player is responsible for each hole scores
Rule 26-1a proper procedure in taking relief under water hazard
Rule 33-1 The Fred Ridley committee doesn't have the power to waive a Rule of Golf

Rule 33-7/1 Authority to waive of modify DQ

Fred Ridley's committee never established the grounds that constitute What Is A Ruling. Without establishing these grounds the committee (within the rules of golf) could not make a ruling. At best what this committee had Friday afternoon was a review. A review which consisted of a 911 caller accusation, and video that matched up perfectly with that accusation. The committee chose not to act on this, and because they don't follow Rule 34-3/9 they never establish grounds for a ruling.

When Fred Ridley's committee decided not to seek Tigers testimony to dispute the accusation and video this is where the conspiracy theory comes in. At this point this can go two different ways depending on what you believe about the 911 call. If the call did come in, this committee didn't want to go out to 15 and have to penalize Tiger Woods, thats the only reason that this committee wouldn't go out there to ascertain what happened following Rule 34-3/9 because the accusation matches the video, so lets not go out there and have to slap him with two. If the 911 call came from Jim Nantz at 10:30 Friday night it would explain why the committee wasn't able to follow Rule 34-3/9 because play has concluded and Tiger has already signed an incorrect card. Either scenario is absent of the most crucial element in Fred Ridley's committees scam, they can't account for Rule 34-3/9. They can't tell you why this rule wasn't followed. But I can, they concocted the story Friday night.

Fred Ridley claimed Saturday morning that the committee had made a ruling Friday afternoon and decided to do nothing. It wasn't a ruling Friday afternoon because this committee didn't follow Rule 34-3/9 and #4 definition of the definition of what constitutes a rule, the player's intentions. No ruling, or decision was ever established Friday afternoon because this committee made this whole story up Friday night.

Invoking Rule 33-7 Saturday morning was nothing short of FRAUD. Fred Ridley's committee cheated the Rules of Golf, they cheated Tiger Woods, they cheated every other contestant in the tournament, they cheated the fans at home, and they cheated the reputation of Augusta National. Never in all my competitive days have I seen such wanton behavior so arrogantly displayed by a rules committee. This whole episode is completely shocking to me. Just when you think you've seen it all something like this comes along and just floors you. What this committee perpetrated was nothing less than FRAUD.
04.18.2013 | Unregistered CommenterSean Murphy
Yes sir, I saw a man in a green jacket with wavy unkept hair running from the school book depository building. He was running like mad towards the parking lot in the back. He kept looking over his shoulder as he kept running into other people. He couldn't get out of here fast enough.

Ma'am, do you know a person named Abraham Azpruder, he's told us he knows you?
04.18.2013 | Unregistered CommenterFirst Eye Witness
On another tack, has anyone wondered how many rules violations have occurred, in majors no less, prior to the whole HD, viewer call in debacle began? I would care to venture even some if the most ardent critics of this latest mess (Faldo, Norman, Chamblee, et al) have probably violated a rule and never knew it, nor got caught for it. Well in Chamblee's case not sure about any majors, but you get the point. It's clear to me Tiger assumed he was dropping on the line he thought he had entered the hazard, given the sun's position, he probably didn't even see it actually go in the water. One last thought: was two clubs lengths from point of the entry, no closer to the hole, not an option?
04.18.2013 | Unregistered CommenterP-Dog
Sean......take some Valium man
04.18.2013 | Unregistered CommenterBrad
@Geoff, prior to the 2012 revision the Definition of 'referee' included "to accompany players" and fit your notion that a referee is an official who walks with a group of players. With the 2012 revision, the stationary (i.e., assigned to a hole or portion of a hole) officials at The Masters are also considered to be referees (as 'accompany[ing]' is no longer part of the Definition).
04.18.2013 | Unregistered CommenterCarl Peterson

"Testimony of those who are not a part of the competition, including spectators, must be accepted and evaluated (Decision 27/12). It is also appropriate to use television footage and the like to assist in resolving doubt."

Sean, under 34-3/9 your saying the committee had the callers testimony, the committee had video they could review, but to complete a ruling involving this sort of rules infraction the committee would have had to have testimony from Tiger Woods, and his playing partners?

I do see what you are saying. Completing this sort of ruling would have needed testimony from Tiger Woods, and without it the committee only had an accusation and video to go on. To complete a ruling they need his testimony.

It appears that you are correct, the only thing the committee did was take a callers accusation, review some video then fail to act. Doesn't sound like a ruling to me either in light of rule 34-3/9. I think you nailed it Sean. The committee was not within the rules to waive Tiger's breach of rule 6-6d.
04.18.2013 | Unregistered Commenter60 Minutes
" complete a ruling involving this sort of rules infraction the committee would have had to have testimony from Tiger Woods, and his playing partners?"


34-3/9 says "It is important that any questions of fact be resolved in a timely manner such that the competition may proceed in an orderly way. Thus, the referee may be limited to evaluating the evidence available to him in a timely manner."

It's pretty clear that the Committee believed the evidence they had was conclusive, and that making a timely decision would avoid any controversy.

They were wrong, but that doesn't mean their unprincipled.
04.18.2013 | Unregistered Commenterkenoneputt
You know Sean for a person screaming about integrity, you seem awful willing to call others liars etc without a shred of evidence. That doesn't generally scream moral character to me.

I think reasonable people can disagree on the dq/non-dq thing. Multiple rules experts who know way more about the rules then I ever will have now weighed in saying it was within the rules, others have said they wouldn't have done it. One thing I would hoe we can agree on though is to disagree civilly, without calling into question the integrity of those on the other side, or resorting to name calling.

Also this subject feels like we're beating a dead horse. Can't we go back to slow play :)
04.18.2013 | Unregistered CommenterElf
Sean, you can keep writing treatises all you want, but it just means you wrote down a lot of words and are still wrong.
04.18.2013 | Unregistered CommenterGoose
All this is a nother(sic) example of the poor job the ROG does, and why a complete toss, and do over is the solution.

Agreeing to disagree does not solve a poorly written novel that cannot come to a simple conclusion that is final. To debate a simple drop for days, and surely days will turn in to weeks, months, years, eons.... just proves that I have always been right in my assessment that the ROG, as it is now written is a joke.

Worry not, I respect the rules, and in the circumstances where required I abide by them; but the posts here simply reinforce the *fact* that the ROG are grounds for a debate team and not a golf match.
04.21.2013 | Unregistered Commenterdigsouth

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