Tiger Woods was “frustrated” and “confused” by the rules when he took an illegal drop during the third round of the Masters that nearly led to his disqualification. But, said Woods’ ex-bagman, who appeared to be rather well-versed in the ins and outs of what happened on that 15th hole, Steve Williams doesn’t really know what went down so he won’t pass judgment.
“I don’t know the full events that occurred so it’s hard to comment,” Williams told New Zealand's 3News on Wednesday.
Williams, who was on Woods’ bag for 13 of his 14 majors and now hands the clubs to newly crowned Masters champ Adam Scott, then expounded at length about what Woods did and what he probably thought as he was violating the rules.
“From what I can gather he took an illegal drop and signed a scorecard and left the course,” Williams said. “Under most circumstances that would result in a disqualification, but they have this thing now, a new rule I’ve never heard of so I don’t fully understand the rule.”
Williams, who did not take kindly to receiving the pink slip from Woods in June 2011, was referring to 2011's so-called HDTV Rule 33.7, which allows officials to waive penalties of disqualification under certain circumstances. He noted that he believed his ex “wasn’t trying to gain anything on the field” after his third shot to the 15th green caromed off the flagstick and into the water resulting in a penalty shot, but that he lost track of whether he was dealing with a water (yellow stakes) or lateral water (red stakes) hazard.
“Obviously, he was frustrated, he mistook the rule between a red line and a yellow line,” Williams said, explaining that Woods must have believed he could take the ball back as far as he wished.
“In his head,” Stevie claimed, “he was probably thinking about that. He didn’t do it intentionally, it was a mistake. But I think in the fairness of the rules, he should have been disqualified....If the rules of golf are upheld, I believe he should have been disqualified.”
Again noting that “I wasn’t there, I can’t comment,” Williams pushed on, discussing the state of his former employee’s mind.
“I would say he was pretty frustrated and just got a little bit confused between the two rules,” he said. “He didn’t do that intentionally; he knows the rules.
“It was just one of those things in the moment and he accidentally dropped the ball, but having said that, it was an incorrect drop, he signed the scorecard and left the course,” Williams concluded, as did many other observers with a not-so-obvious an ax to grind. “You know, that’s a disqualification.”
(golf clap/Geoff Shackleford)