Brandt Snedeker and Angel Cabrera were tied for the lead after the third round of the Masters, a Saturday that will be remembered for Tiger Woods’ penalty.
Woods was hit with a two-shot penalty by the Augusta committee, which chose not to disqualify the world No 1 despite his admission that he took an erroneous drop in his second round.
“I made a mistake, I took an improper drop and got the penalty,” said Woods.
“If it was done a year or two ago, whatever, I wouldn’t have the opportunity to play. But the rules have changed, and under the rules of golf I was able to play.”
The controversial incident happened after Woods’s third shot at the long 15th hit the flagstick and ricocheted back into the pond in front of the green.
Under normal circumstances, he would have been disqualified for signing an incorrect card. Officials took the blame for not alerting Woods to a potential problem – they found nothing wrong at first glance before he signed – and kept him in the tournament with two shots added to his score.
Woods was covered under a 2-year-old rule that prevents DQs when a violation is reported by television viewers.
“It certainly was a distraction early,” Woods said after three birdies on his last seven holes for a 70. “It happens and you move on. I was ready to play come game time.”
Three-time Masters champion Nick Faldo was among the critics who said Woods should have disqualified himself after taking an incorrect drop at the 15th.
“He should really sit down and consider this – it will taint his legacy and his life,” he said.
“I would be saying: ‘I have broken the rules of golf’. Sometimes the black and whiteness is harsh, but Tiger would get massive brownie points if he stood up and said: ‘Fair enough, I’ve broken the rules’ and walked.”
Even some of Woods’s best friends were of that opinion. John Cook is a regular practice partner of Woods. “Even if they told me I could play, I would slam my trunk and be on my way up the road,” he said, says the Telegraph.
Snedeker and Cabrera each shot 3-under 69 on a tough day for going low at Augusta National, the greens firming up in the sunny weather. They will play in the final group Sunday at 7-under 209.
“I’ve spent 32 years of my life getting ready for tomorrow,” said Snedeker, who will be seeking his first major title. “I’m going to be disappointed if I don’t win. Period. I’m not here to get a good finish. … I’m here to win.”
Cabrera’s last two PGA or European tour wins came at the 2009 Masters and the 2007 U.S. Open. He’s in the mix again, despite coming into the week at No. 269 in the world rankings.
“I’m very comfortable,” the Argentine said through an interpreter. “I know what I’ve got to be able to do tomorrow to get the win.”
Matt Kuchar was three strokes back, with Woods and Tim Clark at 213, reports Huff Post.
For Adam Scott, it’s a chance at redemption. He was runner-up at the Masters two years ago, though the fresher wounds are from last summer at Royal Lytham & St. Annes, where the Australian bogeyed his last four holes and finished one shot behind in the British Open.
Scott rammed home a 25-foot birdie putt on the 17th hole for a 69 and was one shot behind, writes Fox News.
Historically, that would have meant disqualification as he had signed for the wrong score – a six rather than an eight.
Instead they decided to apply a recent reinterpretation of the United States Golf Association rules, meaning that, rather than disqualifying him, they gave him a two-shot penalty.
Woods shot a 70, shaking off the penalty he was assessed going out to the first tee.
At the end of the day, it could have been better. Or worse. At least he didn’t get DQed.