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PGA Tour Confidential: Tiger's controversial two-shot penalty, Furyk's 59 and our golf memorabilia wish list

Tiger Woods
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"I was pretty hot because I felt like nothing happened," Tiger Woods said about receiving a two-stroke penalty on Friday.

Every Sunday night, conducts an email roundtable with writers from Sports Illustrated and Golf Magazine. Check in every week for the unfiltered opinions of our writers and editors and join the conversation in the comments section below.

1. Tiger Woods received a two-shot penalty Friday at the BMW Championship after a video appeared to show his ball move when Woods attempted to remove a loose impediment. After watching the video, he maintained that the ball oscillated but did not move. Was the penalty correct? And should Woods have noticed it at the time?

Michael Bamberger, senior writer, Sports Illustrated: Of course the penalty was correct. It's obvious, painfully so, that the ball moved. Slugger White is the judge and jury here, and he did his job. He protected the field. He protected every other player who would call that on himself. He rejected Tiger's claim, and for Tiger to continue to fuss about it is an unfair dis to a pro's pro. And you would hope that would be every player in the field. Tiger went for the branch, the ball moved and that's why he stopped his attempt. That ball did not oscillate. It moved from its original position. And that's the rule. Yes, Woods should have noticed it. He was on top of it, watching his ball like a hawk, as they all do in that situation. Even we duffers do the exact same thing.

Cameron Morfit, senior writer, Golf Magazine: Don't think it's his fault he didn't see it move. Strikes me as one more of golf's fiddly rules. 

Joe Passov, senior editor, travel, Golf Magazine: The penalty was correct, because the ball did move, but it should never have been applied. I've had enough of a policy that allows television viewers, high-definition and extra cameras to determine the outcome of a tournament. The whole deal is far too prejudicial to Tiger and the other top stars. Until you get extra scrutiny on every player in the field, junk this selective application. That said, should Tiger have noticed? Yes. 

Mark Godich, senior editor, Sports Illustrated: Yes, the penalty was correct. It sure looked like the logo on his ball moved, but it's easy to understand why Tiger would not have seen that.

Jeff Ritter, senior producer, On the video, it looks like the ball sank about 2 millimeters. Tough to expect TW to notice, but I'm a little surprised he wasn't more careful.

Mike Walker, senior editor, The ball clearly moves and the penalty was correct. Camera angles can be tricky so it’s plausible that Tiger didn’t see it move at the time, but his insistence that it didn’t move after watching the video is childish.

Josh Sens, contributing writer, Golf Magazine: No doubt Tiger suffers from being the most scrutinized golfer in history. Would cameras have picked up on the incident had it been Brendan Steele? But rules are rules and it sure looked like the ball moved, however slightly, so the penalty is fair. As for whether Tiger shoulda, woulda, coulda noticed, this is the third infraction he’s been hit with this year, and he hasn’t called any of them on himself. Makes you think of the Paul Simon, or a modification of it: Still a man sees what he wants to see and disregards the rest.

Gary Van Sickle, senior writer, Sports Illustrated: The ball appeared to clearly move so the penalty was correct. I can see where Tiger had a different view, looking down from above as he removed the twig, and he may have thought it wobbled but didn't change position. Replay shows it did so I'm surprised he acted like he disagreed. It's hindsight, but Tiger probably should have played a second ball, replacing it to its original position (how would you even do that?) so if it turned out it did move, he suffered only a one-shot penalty instead of two.

2. Where does Furyk's 59 on Friday rank among the all-time 59s?

BAMBERGER: The most recent.

PASSOV: Al Geiberger's Memphis 59 in 1977 was the best, primarily because he had all the pressure of being the first. True, there was lift-clean-and-place that day, but the next best score was 65, so his score was truly remarkable, especially on a 7,200-yard track. Trivia department: Geiberger won the event at 15-under, never shooting a round in the 60s, and former President Gerald Ford carded an ace in the pro-am. I'll go with Annika's 59 in Phoenix in 2001 as next best, followed by David Duval's final round to win at the Hope in '99. Slot Furyk's in at No. 4.

VAN SICKLE: All 59s are outstanding. If you don't win the tournament, though, it's just a nice little asterisk item on your resume. So I'd rate the 59s by the guys who went on to win at the top of this list.

GODICH: Considering the way the wind was howling and seeing as how nobody else shot better than 65 that day, I would have to say it ranks right near the top.

MORFIT: Pretty high. He beat the next-best score that day by five. Snedeker said he just didn't see that score out there. 

WALKER: Any 59 is great. To do it on a windy day, against a talented field that didn’t go especially low, with a bogey, is close to the best ever.

RITTER: I'd slot it No. 3 behind Geiberger and Duval. And there's no such thing as a soft 59.  

SENS: Second, after the one I notched in the final round of the 1999 Birdie King Championships at a now-defunct Boston-area Ground Round. Let’s see Furyk do that after a three beers and a basket of rancid onion rings.

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