On Tiger Woods…

Tiger Woods has been in the news a lot lately — and not just for being tipsy in NYC with his new gal pal.  Tiger Woods has caused some big headlines based on his actions on the golf course — pushing the rules in his favor, although some say he has NOT been breaking the rules (merely “bending them…”).

Yahoo! Sports reports:


Barely a third of the way into the 2013 golf season, Tiger Woods has already found himself the focus of three different rules controversies. He’s been questioned for his behavior on the course and, in effect, called a liar for his comments off it.


While it’s certainly true that Tiger is the most scrutinized golfer on the planet, watched by millions every time he enters a tournament, it’s impossible to ignore the pattern that’s developing: that time after time, when given the opportunity, Tiger Woods chooses the interpretation of the rules that’s most favorable to him. Each situation isn’t a huge deal when examined individually, but within a body of work they matter, especially when considering where he’s headed – straight at Jack Nicklaus’ record of 18 majors.


Tiger Woods avoided disqualification after taking an illegal drop at the Masters. (AP)


Let’s get this out of the way: There is absolutely no indication that Woods is cheating on the golf course. None. No golfer in history has been as closely monitored as he is. In an age where hi-def TV viewers can pick up when a ball rotates by a single dimple, there’d be nowhere for Woods to hide.

But there is latitude in golf, which is a game officiated by the players themselves. So it’s worth an inspection when a player interprets the rules in a way that consistently benefits him.


Consider, for instance, the infamous “loose impediment” ruling from the 1999 Phoenix Open. There, Woods hit his tee shot into the desert alongside the 13th hole; the ball came to rest behind a one-ton boulder roughly the size of a dishwasher. Woods asked whether the boulder was considered a “loose impediment,” meaning it could be moved without penalty. A rules official assented, and Woods asked members of the gallery to haul the boulder out of the way. They happily obliged, and Woods would go on to birdie the hole.

And we already have three separate events in 2013 where Woods’ interpretation of the rules has come under scrutiny:




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