Perhaps there’s nobody happier about the following news than Rory McIlroy. Not because Rory is a Tiger hater, but because Rory’s choppy, get-me-out-of-here-and-give-me-my-old-Titleist-clubs-back pathetic play will certainly be at least semi-overshadowed by the following news.
On the 5th hole on Friday, Tiger blocked his tee shot into the desert/shrubbery. After arriving to the ball and noticing that it was embedded, Tiger called over playing partner Martin Kaymer to analyze the situation. Tiger then appeared to ask Kaymer if he agreed that his ball was embedded, to which Kaymer agreed. Tiger then quickly took a drop and proceeded to play his way through the hole, ultimately making bogey.
After arriving at the 11th hole, European Tour Senior Rules Official Andy McFee notified Tiger that the situation was under review (McFee after the round said it was important to him to let Tiger know during the round as he was battling to make the cut). Following a review and further discussion with the two spectators that reported the situation, Tiger was notified that the he was receiving a 2-stroke penalty for the drop as he was in violation of Rule 25-2 “Embedded Ball,” which gives free relief to embedded balls in “closely mown areas,” but not in “sandy areas” like the spot that Tiger was clearly in (check out video of the incident below).
It was a shock to say the least that veterans Tiger Woods, Martin Kaymer and Tiger’s caddie, Joe LaCava all clearly did not know the details of the rule. The part that surprises me the most is, why was Tiger in such a damn hurry to play the shot? Watching the video coverage, you’d think that Tiger was trying to pull a Phil Mickelson at hole 4 on Sunday at Augusta and speed hacking his way to a big number. Also, why not call an official over Tiger? Again, what in the hell were you in such a hurry for? In any questionable situation like this, every Tour player should know to call over an official for a ruling. Simply calling over your playing partner for comment is unacceptable.
Until today, Tiger had never missed a cut in a non-major European Tour event and now, the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship has paid El Tigre an outrageous $3 million appearance fee for just two rounds instead of four. At the very least Tiger, man up and donate half of that appearance fee to charity.
The question now is, who is having a worse start to the weekend- The folks in Abu Dhabi or Nike?