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Poll: Assessing Tiger's 2013 Rules Mishaps

I've struggled with the vitriol over Tiger's BMW Championship ball move for a variety of reasons (the difficulty in first seeing it, the difference in views between the camera and Tiger's perspective, etc...). But I do understand why, once you see a sharp view of the ball moving, hear his defiance and add it to the list of 2013 rules mishaps, that fans would be bothered by the trend.

But when someone reminded me today of the Players drop he took en route to winning there, I recalled the one that really bothered me. Tiger's assertion that his 14th hole tee ball crossed the hazard and then took a sharp hook into the water never felt right even though playing partner Casey Wittenburg backed him.

The Masters drop bothers some in a similar way though I think that one was pretty easily chalked up to the moment when his ball hit the flagstick and confusion over options.

The Abu Dhabi embedded ball was also troubling for some even though playing partner Martin Kaymer thought the ball was embedded.

Anyway, you know my vote, but here is the poll.

And I ask this question to help better put last week's incident into perspective...

Which of Tiger's 2013 rules mishaps do you find most troubling? free polls 

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Reader Comments (74)

Geoff you need a none option. None of them really bother me in particular, although the number of them seems odd.

As to the players a) don't think tiger said he saw it b) wasn't just wittinberg was also caddies and pple walking with him. That's a lot of pple to be questioning the integrity of. Players get drop locations wrong fairly frequently, but that's diff than doing it on purpose.
09.17.2013 | Unregistered CommenterElf
I voted for the Players incident, mostly due to the fact that was the only one of these that he "got away" with, although I supposed the same could be said for the Masters drop. The fact that Wittenberg went along with it is troubling though.
09.17.2013 | Unregistered CommenterBrianS
The Players one is just a disgrace - it's your job to know where your ball crossed the line, and if you don't see it, your caddy damn well should.

Woods won that by two shots - whose to say he would have dropped two if he had dropped at the end of the tee?

That said, I feel stuff like the drop, the 'oscillating ball' (look at the video, do you see the surrounding trees and bushes 'oscillating'?) all feels to me not like it's something he does, more like it's something EVERYONE does and it's just that Woods gets put under the microscope more than others.
09.17.2013 | Unregistered Commentermehstg
@BrianS. So you are suggesting that Casey Wittenberg is either a coward or a cheat? Big call there - either way.
09.17.2013 | Unregistered Commentermetro18
How are Tiger's penalties any more troubling than other golfers who have received multiple penalties in their careers?
09.17.2013 | Unregistered CommenterAA
Is there a poll for other golfers who have received multiple penalties?
09.17.2013 | Unregistered CommenterAA
was going to vote for The Players drop, but at least second changed it to last weeks super oscillation-gate.

Reason is the reaction when he was confronted with the video evidence by Slugger White. At the Players, FWIW, Casey at least gave it a somewhat dodgy and/or psychologically coerced "OK".

It's how people react to bad breaks that reveals character...and builds it as well. Tiger needs some reps in that area of his game perhaps.
09.17.2013 | Unregistered Commenterjohnnnycz
What johnny said. It is Tiger's reaction to the damning video that has caused the outrage. You can give Tiger the doubt when he said he thought the ball oscillated. But to carry on with that view after he saw the video is why he is getting all this grief. Then you begin to wonder is he really telling the truth ?

Tiger could have put this one to bed forever, just by accepting that the ball moved, caused by him. And accually admitting it after he saw the video. Why he coudn't is anyone's guess.
09.17.2013 | Unregistered CommenterEasingwold
@AA - in the last year, how many times combined did the following star golfers get called in after their rounds to have penalty strokes added to their score ? Phil, Rory, Furyk, Westwood, Luke, Snedeker ? Answer 0. (At least I think) How many times did this happen to Tiger ? 3.
09.17.2013 | Unregistered CommenterBrianS
The Players one bothers me the LEAST. While he got the biggest advantage from that drop, it's just an impossible situation to know where a ball crosses a hazard. The ball is spinning and 100 feet up in the air, the path of the ball is distorted from the standpoint of the viewer (Tiger) and the hazard line is jagged. Take a much simpler situation: how many times have we seen a shanked punt in football that only goes 20 or so yards. The side judge, who is in effect standing on the edge of the "hazard"--which is a straight line--starts walking up the line until he stops at some random place and declares that's where the ball crosses the "hazard". This on a "course" neatly marked off with one-yard increments on the ground. I think we as football fans all accept that the official is just completely making that up based on a very rough judgment of where the ball went out of bounds. So why are we surprised or outraged when a golfer, in a much more complex visual environment--a tiny spinning ball, a hazard with uncertain edges, rolling topography and a poor initial vantage point--makes an assessment that seems a little dubious?

Back when it happened, there were those who drew curves on aerial photographs and others who drew different curves on distorted photos from different camera angles. Collectively, they were inconclusive. At worst, Tiger should've re-teed, at best he did nothing wrong. But to Tiger and Casey Wittenburg and their caddies, they had to make a call without the benefit of replay. I don't discount psychology in this either...Tiger probably truly BELIEVED he didn't hit that bad of a shot, so he really thought he'd hit the ballooning, late hooking shot that just nipped the edge of the hazard before going in.

I actually think the Masters and Abu Dhabi ones were worse, as Tiger seemed to be unaware of the proper rule/condition in each case. I can't fault him too much for misjudging an impossible to solve 4D aerial geometry problem.
09.17.2013 | Unregistered CommenterChris in NoVa
Outside of the Players, Tiger received a PENALTY in each circumstance. Penalties are apart of the rules. So, what is the big deal? I am being serious.

Also, what if Tiger did this?
09.17.2013 | Unregistered CommenterD.
@D Stenson is bringing the club down from the outside here, sending the head spinning off at an angle. I favour the over-the-head Viking chop myself.
09.17.2013 | Unregistered CommenterMacDuff

Here's the big deal: In each instance the penalty was assessed AFTER the round and, in two cases, after the scorecard was signed and turned in. There is a growing concern that Tiger is playing fast and loose with the rules. And his indignance over this last one is very disturbing.

And for all the "poor Tiger, he is under more scrutiny than everyone else" apologists out there, let's remember that every one of these situations was SELF INFLICTED. No one made Tiger take two illegal drops and no one forced him to put his hands on a twig/cone resting against his ball.

To make it worse, he DOESN'T seem to care with no apologies, no contrition and, seemingly, no conscious.

That, my friend, is a big deal.
09.17.2013 | Unregistered CommenterShady Golf
@Shady. You say two penalties were assessed after the card was signed. The Masters yes. Where was the other?
09.17.2013 | Unregistered Commentermetro18
Unfortunately I have heard no one mention the fact that the video for the oscillation/movement this past week was taken at ground level view. What few fail to realize from a golfer's perspective is he was looking DOWN on the ball from a birds-eye view. He is the only one to know what he thought it did, and it is TOTALLY POSSIBLE to his eyes and mind from his view point that it did ONLY oscillate. I play golf professionally and I love my sport because it relies on our honor and our morals and our judgement on myself and each of my playing competitors. Penalties happen more often than many folks realize, and to single out Tiger is to scrutinize the world's #1 player beyond belief. But to each their own, I will choose to believe in what he saw and accept the penalties as part of our game. Lastly, stop calling in what you think is a penalty from the comfort of your Sunday couch, we have enough policing of our sport on the course. Thanks all!
09.17.2013 | Unregistered CommenterShawn H
I goofed...he did sign his card at BMW but didn't turn it in. I was thinking he was DQ'd from Abu Dhabi but the penalty strokes resulted in a missed cut. My bad.
09.17.2013 | Unregistered CommenterShady Golf
@ Shawn. Most folks here are comfortable that Tiger is being honest when he says he did not see the ball move on the spot. Question - then how can he say he saw it "oscillate"? leave that for now. But when called into the trailer afterwards, it is his attitude towards the rules staff and his indignation. As a pro golfer, if that happened to you, would you not accept the judgement of the rules official ? At Abu Dhabi, Tiger did exactly that, and that is why I think that is getting very few votes in terms of what is the "worst".
09.17.2013 | Unregistered CommenterBrianS
Shaun, once the video evolved, the die wast cast. It's not what Tiger saw at the time, it's what he saw on video. It's happened to other pros too. The fact Tiger is seen more that any golfer is the price he pays against the rewards he recieves because of such scrutiny.

Lance Armstrong won 7 Tour de France titles, was the greatest. He also got more heat when things went wrong because he was the greatest ( we thought ). Such is true of any sporting superstar.
09.17.2013 | Unregistered CommenterEasingwold
I have made a point to pay attention to blimp shots since the Tiger controversy at the Players. Since the blimp is never directly over the player or the line of flight, it is impossible to ascertain from the shot what land forms or water hazards are directly under the ball. Every blimp shot I've seen makes it more obvious that the controversy over Tiger's drop was a false one. The blimp shot is not even close to an accurate depiction of the ball's flight vis-a-vis where it crossed the hazard, and since there is no other evidence that Tiger took a wrong drop, all of you nattering nabobs of negativism who keep questioning Casey and the caddies are all wet. I suggest you play close attention to every blimp shot at East Lake, stop your teeth gnashing, and get over yourselves. It's very unbecoming of supposed gentleman and lady golfers.
09.17.2013 | Unregistered CommenterRES
The BMW incident is not entirely about people being pro Tiger or anti Tiger. Much of it is about ignorance of the rules of golf (ROG), and ignorance of angles of view regarding video evidence and eyewitness perspectives, and ignorance about what constitutes an object rotating; oscillating (rotating any number of times in counteracting directions so as to rest in the original position -no harm, no foul under the rules of golf); and how those relate to movement in 3d.

Multiple golf pros, actually more LPGA players, have denied responsibility for a penalty in the face of video evidence. Michelle Wie comes to mid for grounding her club in water and denying it. So if Tiger doesn't want to be grouped with LPGA players, he needs to man up and admit responsibility for his penalties. He backed off of the ball he moved at the BMW like he had been nearly bitten by a snake, and then he circled it like a tiger stalking prey.

The Players drop has the most potential for being actual cheating with the most benefit to Tiger. I however had no video evidence, but only suspicion. I never bothered to even get a map of that hole. But the entire thing smelled like Tiger's ball hooked over the water very near the tee box and never crossed up where he took the drop. IMO he took the drop where the ball splashed in. I couldn't vote in the poll for the Player's drop being the worst because I don't have any evidence.

In totality, the Master's drop is the worst because Tiger admitted to media just after the round that he intentionally took a drop a few yards behind the spot of the original shot. He was intentionally cheating since he signed the score card wrong. Correct observers and bloggers at the time said he shb DQ'd for not knowing the rules and signing incorrect score card and admitting that he knew what he did and it had nothing to do with a video dispute. The facts were all related to tiger's intentions and had nothing to do with video evidence. The video evidence was later examined ad nauseam to prove Tiger's intentions. The Masters committee gave Tiger a pass for political and economic reasons.
09.17.2013 | Unregistered CommenterJoe Hacker
Where was that camera stationed?

If it moved even the slightest amount during the course of the video those screen grabs are null and void. Was a cameraman holding that camera? Blimp shot? Wind blown mounted camera?
09.17.2013 | Unregistered CommenterM.C. Boone
@BrianS in the last few years off the top of my head I can think of Rory being assed a few penalties, and I am fairly certain that Luke has been called in a few times. I would be stunned if the same hadn't happened to Lee. In point it's happened to nearly every golfer, and a much smaller percentage of their shots are viewed than Tiger's. Does not mean that they were always assesed a penalty though. 3 in one year seems like a lot, on the other hand it may just be a balancing out from the fact that he's had very few over the course of his career (given the number of his shots placed under scrutiny). Honestly don't know.

The question I have been pondering after this one is why? As in why he has continued to deny it. He accepted both the AD and the Masters penalty, and it seems like from a PR standpoint he'd have been better off doing the same in this case. But people generally have a rational (in their minds) reason for their actions.
09.17.2013 | Unregistered Commenterelf
Regarding the Players drop: If a ball crosses into a hazard in fight first at point A, then returns into the course in flight at point B, then finally crossed into the hazard at point C, which point is deemed to be the correct one for the purpose of a drop under the ROG?
09.17.2013 | Unregistered CommenterJoe Hacker
To those who think it is unfair on Tiger to be under the microscope , would have someone like Brian Davis received the same consideration as Tiger did at the Masters ? It was almost like Tiger was too big to DQ at the time.
09.17.2013 | Unregistered CommenterEasingwold
@D, Stenson's extracurricular driver swing was MILD by all standards of PGA conduct. Guys stick their clubs in the ground routinely, but it ain't a penalty. I think, technically, it is a practice swing. LOL.
09.17.2013 | Unregistered CommenterJoe Hacker
Players drop bothered me the least both because of the blimp distortion and because I am very hesitant to impugn Wittenberg's character like some have. Masters bothered me the most because he should have and would have been DQ'd had not Fred Ridley completely screwed up the situation. Very good interview with David Eger by the way in this month's GD that is not flattering to Mr. Ridley at all.
09.17.2013 | Unregistered CommenterSari
@BrianS ... I would accept the rules official but with a bit of frustration if I felt I was right. As I said the video evidence did appear to show the ball moving out of it's original location. HOWEVER, from Tiger's view point it could have appeared to only oscillate. As a player when we see a ball even remotely start to shift or move we do stop and or jump away like it was a rattlesnake. That is just fact. As a competitor I would be very frustrated because I saw it one way and thought I made the correct decision only to have a camera man and producer zoom in on my golf ball to prove otherwise. Obviously it didn't matter much since he wasn't close to winning.

@Easingwold ... I just don't agree with your statement in any form. I am not on the PGA yet however I hold myself to the same rules and regulations that Tiger does, so I don't think just because you are at the highest position in your given sport that you should be watched more, tested more, scrutinized more as an offset to your ability to be the best more. Tiger should be held to the same standards all professional golfers are and it should never be any different, more or less, PERIOD! A computer analysis program, which holds no human bias, would treat all bits of info of one kind the same in behavior no matter what, and since this is a professional sport where all the bits/players are the same in that we are all professional golfers than we should all be scrutinized the same, no more no less. Thanks.
09.17.2013 | Unregistered CommenterShawn H
The poll is like asking which of four times a person who has been caught shoplifting in a span of ten months was the worst...

Joe has it right here when he says Tiger "backed off of the ball he moved at the BMW like he had been nearly bitten by a snake...," and despite all the arguing about HD camera angles, blimp's eye views, oscillation physics, and vertical vs horizontal planes, I would venture to say that virtually everyone reading this sentence knows in his/her heart that what Joe says is true. What shot through Tiger in the form of adrenaline was the realization that what he'd just done might cost him $10million and a chance at redeeming a major-less season with at least a victory in the year-end money grab. Just as what shot through him at the Masters and made him behave like someone at the scene of an accident was the realization on the spot that a freak occurrence of chance in the ball hitting the flag and bouncing off into water had just derailed what looked like an old time Tiger charge and another grab of the green jacket. And just as Tiger couldn't admit this, neither can most of the defenders posting here -- because it's tough to go against that lightning bolt of adrenaline -- which is what these incidents produce because of it being Tiger Woods in question...

All of this said, I come around to agreeing with what Hawkeye says at the end of one of the other threads -- that the only solution is calling over your playing partner who is scoring you when there's an issue of moving debris around your ball, and you both go with the decision that is made right there, including judging whether you cause your ball to move if there is any movement. This places the action clearly within a framework that has to then be accepted. Kind of like when the home plate ump in baseball turns to the 1st base ump on whether a batter checked his swing or not. Once that call is made, end of story.

But finally, as to Tiger's repeat transgressions this year, I ask observers here what they think the response would have been if it was someone like Montgomery or Sabbatini having four of these "incidents" occur in the same season... honestly...
09.17.2013 | Unregistered CommenterRLL
Seems pretty cut and dry to me. You can see the logo on his ball, the ball moves, then you can see less of the logo than you could before. It moved.
09.17.2013 | Unregistered Commenterpdgoblue25
Shaun, I didn't say it was fair on Tiger, it's just a fact he will be on camera more because of who he is. It works for him sometimes ( boulder) and sometimes it doesn't as last week proved.
09.17.2013 | Unregistered CommenterEasingwold
@Easingwold, good one -- "Tiger is too big to DQ." At the Masters for sure.

@mehstg, there is no penalty under the ROG for a player causing his own ball to oscillate. Under the ROG, since the ball returned to its original postion - no harm, no foul.

@Shawn H, Hawkins on the Golf Channel just wrote an article mentioning the low ground angle of the video camera and Tiger's angle directily above the ball. I too wrote here about it a day before Hawkins. If the ball moved downward, Tiger would have had difficulty detecting that, and oscillation is not penalized.

@BrianS, oscillation is not penalized under the ROG. So a player would observe the "movement", but observe also that the ball returned to its original position -no harm, no foul under ROG.

@Sari, I'll have to check out the GD article about the Ridley fiasco at the Maters 2013
09.17.2013 | Unregistered CommenterJoe Hacker
The Masters was just ignorance. Other than arguing that it's a player's job to know the rules inside and out - thoroughly, you can excuse that one.

The players drop was horrible, and everyone seems to forget that other players who hit similar shots that week dropped much further back. Tiger suggested a flight that went straight and then made a sudden left turn. - Joke. Also don't forget the walking analysts and the lead analysts said at the time, they weren't comfortable with the drop. So although it's been argued that's a lot of people to be questioning the integrity of, ask yourself this: if you are one of the caddies or people walking with the group, are you going to be the first one to say "Mr. Woods, I don't think that is a good drop, you should be way back there."

Ignoring the moving ball at the BMW is something a two-bit slimy golf hustler would do, hoping nobody noticed. Lame.
09.17.2013 | Unregistered CommenterPress Agent
amazing how tigerlovers will use any excuse. too many cameras on tiger. or all players would get more penalities if they had as many cameras. Ball didn't move.
Blah Blah Blah.
Most players CALL FOR AN OFFICIAL when there is any doubt. Tiger NEVER did that in any instance noted here.
and as far as Casey agreeing with tiger, what do you expect, he doesn't even have a full PGA card. Kaymer will also defer to World's number one. why shouldn't they?
09.17.2013 | Unregistered Commentermorphy699
These incidents reveal a pattern about how Tiger perceives the rules and he is not alone in this. Monty damaged his standing twice - once on an improved placement after a rain delay; another when video clearly showed his ball moving after address while putting. Both times he got his way but I doubt most players would have seen it the way he did. Gary Player was a challenged by Watson in the first skins game and many recalled his tactic at the British Open near the clubhouse. Vijay was banned from a tour for life over an incident. All of these players are Hall of Famers (Tiger will get in). To me the governing bodies have to trust the player. It is the nature of the game. But the player should be aware that the risk to his integrity should not be ignored. If you asked these men I bet they would all say it doesn't matter to them. Back to the survey- The Players drop was the one that gave Tiger the most advantage- and he was leading at the time. By far this was the worst judgement. Casey did not do his job in protecting the field.
09.17.2013 | Unregistered Commentermunihack
Press Agent, I disagree with your statement, "The Masters was just ignorance. Other than arguing that it's a player's job to know the rules inside and out - thoroughly, you can excuse that one."

As I see the facts, Tiger stated in an immediate postround interview that he intentionally took a drop behind the original spot to GAIN AN ADVANTAGE in adjusting his yardage to the flagstick.

Tiger signed and submitted an innacurate scorecard that did not reflect the penalty required for the improper drop.

The ROG state that a player cannot use IGNORANCE OF THE RULES OF GOLF as a defense against being DQ'd.

Combining that Tiger intentionally sought an advantage in his drop that broke the ROG and that there is a requirement under the ROG to know the rules, all people in the know conclude that Tiger should have been DQ'd at the Masters 2013.

Footnote - At first, I argued in Tigers defense of Masters 2013 drop. I was with the crowd that focused on the rules regarding post-round video.. It took reading a number a blog posts by people who are versed in the ROG for me to understand that it had nothing to do with post-round video and why ROG require DQ when competitors plead ignorance of the rules and blatantly violate the rules. Otherwise every scumbag player would just break the rules and then plead ignorance.
09.17.2013 | Unregistered CommenterJoe Hacker
So we have one instance of completely blanking on the rules (US Masters) and 3 instances of poor judgement

-Judging the lie of the embedded ball in Abu Dabi
-Judging the spot of his drive crossing the hazard at the Players
-Judging the oscillation (or not) of his ball at the BMW

Chris in NoVa makes a compelling argument. In the case of both the Players drop and the BMW, you are asking Tiger to see with perfect clarity things that are very difficult to see even with slow motion HD replay.

The more I think about it, the more the Masters drop pisses me off but I recall Geoff explaining the loophole that justified no DQ.

Still... if it's time for my final answer and I can't phone a friend I'd have to go w/ Masters because he DIDN'T REMEMBER THE RULES (loophole be damned) In the other scenarios, he interpretted a visual situation differently than the official. In 2 cases it was a dynamic, 1 time event that he missed. In Abu Dabi it was a static event... hmmm
09.17.2013 | Unregistered CommenterPGT
@morphy699, I have a question about your statement, "Most players CALL FOR AN OFFICIAL when there is any doubt. Tiger NEVER did that in any instance noted here."

How would an official determine whether a ball had moved a half - inch or whether it had only oscillated and therefore not moved at all, when he didn't observe the event or was too far away to detect any possible movement? I don't see an official's opinion being of use in the BMW situation. Or maybe I'm wrong?
09.17.2013 | Unregistered CommenterJoe Hacker
Joe makes a good point. What if he called over an official and his playing partners and told them that when he moved the twig that it oscillated. Official asks if the ball is in the same position and Tiger says yes, which he truly believes. Official says no harm, no foul and he plays the rest of his round. Then the video pops up, Tiger gets called in by Slugger and adamantly states that the ball was in the same position and that the camera angle was from the side, not the top, and therefore doesn't reflect the reality of the way the ball oscillated. Is that video REALLY conclusive? Is it enough to overrule the player who was there and the on-site official who was consulted? I think the fact that opinion is split in the polls as to whether the ball was no longer in its original position indicates that the video itself is not dispositive of the violation. At that point you have to go with the player's opinion. However, Slugger apparently thought the video WAS conclusive, despite Tiger's protest. So, in this case, it was Slugger's opinion vs Tiger's. I guess the point of this rambling post is how do you determine that video evidence is conclusive? And if there is even an iota of doubt shouldn't the player's opinion control?
09.17.2013 | Unregistered CommenterTampaGolfer
@ Joe Hacker.

Joe, I play at a course where the ball oscillates on average 10 rounds a year, and where you can't play for another 10 days because of high winds. I know the difference between a moving ball and an oscillating ball. I also say again, for a ball to oscillate there has to be a force to make it move - the term 'oscillate' defines a repetitive change in state. For a golf ball, I can only think of two ways something can oscillate - wind and extraordinary hard rain.

Look at the shrubs around Woods when he's playing - there's no wind. There's no rain. There's no force to oscillate a ball. It moved, he saw it move, he stopped in his tracks and thought ''ah well, no-one saw it, play on, won't call myself''.

BTW my course fyi
09.17.2013 | Unregistered Commentermehstg
When in doubt, the player will take the penalty rather than the scrutiny of being questionable. Golfers that play by the time honored rules know this is the only way to retain the honor of the game itself. Treat the game with respect, and you will be respected. Discretion is always the better part of valor.

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