Just when a resurgent Tiger Woods was looking to close out a resurrecting round — after being five-under for 17 holes — disaster struck. His tee-shot on the par-4 18th landed in the palm bushes behind the fairway-bunker. What eventually ended as a double-bogey, could have been worse.
But Tiger got lucky.
In question was the way Tiger used the 8-iron to almost drag the ball out of the bushes. It immediately raised doubts whether Tiger, down on one knee, had ‘double-hit’ — that invites a one-stroke penalty — the ball even as he seemed to pull it out.
Later, Tiger explained what happened when he went to submit his card. “When I walked in, there was a question on what happened on my second shot on 18. So I stayed in the tent and Mark Russell (PGA Tour Vice President, Rules & Competitions) ended up going down to the TV compound to take a look at it. Well, I didn’t think I hit it twice, it happened so fast. In slow motion, you can see I did hit it twice. But, in real time, I didn’t feel that at all. There is no violation, I guess.”
Soon Russell cleared the air.
“Well, Tiger was under a bush and we did determine that he did make a stroke at it. He didn’t scrape or spoon or push the ball. And when he did that, Tiger said that he did not think he hit the ball twice. Looking at it in the regular speed on a high-definition television, you couldn’t tell that at all. But when you slowed it down to ultra-slow motion high-definition television, you could see the ball did stay on the clubface quite a bit of time and it looked like he might have hit it twice, but there’s no way he could tell that.
“In this age of high-definition slow motion television, we’ve got a decision at 34-3/10 under Limitations on Use of Video Evidence. Basically, it says if the player did not know that he did that and the only way you can tell that is by using this type of slow motion technology, he’s exempt from the rules, so there’s no penalty there.”
(The writer is in Nassau at the invitation of Hero MotoCorp)
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