By his own recollection, Tiger Woods has never had a year where his relationship with the Rules of Golf has been so rocky.
“I’ve gotten plenty of rulings over the course of my time on tour,” Woods said Wednesday at the Tour Championship. “I think that I can’t remember another year in which this has happened like this, but it’s just the way it’s been and that’s the way it goes.”
Woods was asked to comment on the trio of very public rules violations he has faced this season and if he would consult rules officials more in the future to prevent the ensuing penalties. Woods sighed, then answered, “Have I asked for more help from the rules staff this year?” before a laugh at himself. “Yeah, I have.”
The world No. 1 has been penalized two strokes on three separate occasions in 2013 for three different violations of the Rules of Golf.
In his season-opening tournament at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship, Woods was penalized two shots in the first round for taking an improper drop after misinterpreting his grassy lie in a sandy area. Woods thought his ball was embedded in grass, and he was entitled to a free drop. He wasn’t.
Then in the second round of the Masters, Woods’ third shot to the par-5 15th caromed off the flagstick and back into the guarding water hazard. When Woods elected to take relief from the original spot of his shot, he did not drop the ball as near as possible to that spot. A former PGA Tour player called in to Augusta National officials to convince them Woods broke the rules. Instead of disqualifying Woods, Augusta National officials set a precedent by only giving Woods a two-shot penalty.
Last week at the BMW Championship, Woods was again penalized two shots after his round. On the par-4 first hole at Conway Farms, Woods went long with his second shot, finding brush behind the green. While clearing leaves and bark from around his ball to make a better path for his club, the ball moved slightly. The movement was captured by freelance cameramen for the PGA Tour, who then showed the footage to rules officials. Woods remains adamant that ball “oscillated,” returning to its original position. The PGA Tour thought differently and penalized Woods.