Hold on to your hats, golf fans. Tiger Woods may have taken an illegal drop on hole No. 15 during his second round at The Masters.
The debate was sparked late Friday evening as the Golf Channel's Jason Sobel alerted Twitter of the growing discussion:
A lot of talk about Tiger's drop on 15 possibly illegal. He knowingly dropped two yards further back. Differing views on if that's allowed.— Jason Sobel (@JasonSobelGC) April 13, 2013
Obviously the scorecard is already signed. My inclination is that he's OK. But if not, could turn out to be major news tomorrow.— Jason Sobel (@JasonSobelGC) April 13, 2013
That "major news" would spell disaster for Tiger, as signing an incorrect scorecard would result in a disqualification. The question appears to be twofold: 1) since Tiger took his drop about two yards back from the original location of the shot, did he violate a rule saying his shot must be played from the same spot; or 2) he should have taken a drop on the line last crossed, which was at different angle from where he dropped, due to the carom off flagstick.
The rule that covers this issue is Rule 26-1, which reads:
26-1. Relief For Ball In Water Hazard
It is a question of fact whether a ball that has not been found after having been struck toward a water hazard is in the hazard. In the absence of knowledge or virtual certainty that a ball struck toward a water hazard, but not found, is in the hazard, the player must proceed under Rule 27-1.
If a ball is found in a water hazard or if it is known or virtually certain that a ball that has not been found is in the water hazard (whether the ball lies in water or not), the player may under penalty of one stroke:
a. Proceed under the stroke and distance provision of Rule 27-1 by playing a ball as nearly as possible at the spot from which the original ball was last played (see Rule 20-5); or
b. 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 holeand the spot on which the ball is dropped, with no limit to how far behind thewater hazard the ball may be dropped;
More news to follow as it becomes available, but it could be an interesting Saturday morning at Augusta National.