2013 Masters Tournament logo2013 Masters Tournament

Masters Officials Erred Mightily on Tiger Woods Penalty

AUGUSTA, GA - APRIL 13:  Tiger Woods of the United States walks off the 18th green during the third round of the 2013 Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club on April 13, 2013 in Augusta, Georgia.  (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
Andrew Redington/Getty Images
Richard LeivenbergContributor IIIApril 14, 2013

The two-shot penalty assessed to Tiger Woods at the Masters makes me sick.

In what other sport can a television viewer affect the outcome of a game?

Can you imagine if you could call the NFL if you spotted a lineman offsides?  Can you imagine being able to get an umpire to change his call on a bang-bang play at first base?  What if you could text the lineman at a tennis match and get that out-of-bounds call altered? 

There doesn't seem to be any rhyme or reason for such an imposition. Not to mention, the Masters officials went back to look at the tape, interviewed Tiger and then made their decision. 

Such dire decisions should be made on the spot.  Where were the officials when he was making his drop? 

Golf has more rules and regulations than just about any sport.  Its 140-page rule book is replete with minutia-laden dictum that are impossible to understand let alone remember.  It is all about what the golfer is not allowed to do.

But, golf is also the fairest game around.  It is the only one where an athlete makes calls on himself.  In golf, it is up to you, the golfer, to tell on yourself if you break a rule.

Remember when Derek Jeter faked being hit by a ball and ended up on first base?  The entire baseball world's head would have turned on end if he said, "No, Mr. Umpire, I didn't get hit."  It wasn't exactly cheating but part of the game.  This, of course, in a game where what some would call cheating is an accepted strategy.

But, in golf it is altogether different.  Tiger, upon being interviewed by the Masters' rules officials, readily admitted he had made a mistake. 

Rules are rules and Tiger accepted his fate.  If he goes on to win his major, it will be due to his inimitable poise as a golfer not to mention his unmitigated professionalism.

Meanwhile, some guy is sitting at home with his rule book waiting for another mistake to be made.

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