Tiger Woods hit with 2-shot penalty at BMW for moving ball while removing twigs
LAKE FOREST, Ill. (AP) – Tiger Woods was involved in another rules violation Friday in the BMW Championship, this time getting the two-shot penalty before he left the golf course.
Video evidence indicated that his golf ball moved ever so slightly as Woods was removing a twig from an area under the trees behind the first green at Conway Farms. What made this case unusual is that the video was taken by a videographer working for PGA Tour Entertainment, and the infraction was noticed by someone editing the film.
Slugger White, vice president of competition at the PGA Tour, stopped Woods before he signed for a 70. Woods didn't believe the ball moved out of its position, and White said the world's No. 1 player still wasn't convinced after watching the video.
“He said he didn't feel he could see that,'' White said. “I felt like that was OK, but the ball did move.''
That turned a double bogey on No. 1 into a quadruple-bogey 8. It turned his 70 into a 72. Instead of being five shots behind Brandt Snedeker and Jim Furyk – the sixth player in PGA Tour history with a 59 – Woods was seven shots back going into the weekend.
And then it got even worse. Those two shots put him in the same pairing Saturday with Sergio Garcia, who got into a verbal battle with Woods at The Players Championship this year that ended badly when the Spaniard jokingly said he would have Woods over for dinner at the U.S. Open and serve him fried chicken.
They have not played together since that dispute.
Woods did not stop for comment after reviewing the tape.
At the Masters this year, Woods was tied for the lead late in the second round when his wedge to the par-5 15th hole hit the flag and caromed into the water. He dropped a yard or so behind his original position to avoid hitting the flag and escaped with bogey. Only later was it discovered that he took the wrong drop option and should have been penalized two shots.
Augusta National issued the penalty, but allowed him to stay in the tournament even though Woods signed for the wrong score. Augusta National cited Rule 33-7 that allows a committee to waive disqualification for an incorrect scorecard, which led to passionate debate whether he was getting special treatment. The club said it was aware of the violation, but chose not to have Woods review it before he signed his card.
Unlike the incident at the Masters, a television viewer did not call in the possible infraction. White said a freelance camera man working for the tour captured it on video. An editor at headquarters going over the footage thought there was movement of the ball and notified the PGA Tour.
The film was sent over to tour officials on site at Conway Farms, and it was reviewed at the tournament before bringing in Woods for consultation.
The movement was slight, though it appears to have moved down when Woods touches a small branch to the right of the golf ball, and it doesn't appear to return to its original position. White said Woods could not have seen that from his position looking down at the top of the ball.
Woods accepted his two-shot penalty at the Masters when he became aware of his bad drop. Friday was different. Even after looking at the video, Woods wasn't convinced the ball moved from its position.
“He knew there was movement there, but it's like (he) was very adamant that it oscillated – it stayed there,'' White said. “But this video was at the site, and the ball did in fact move.''
Asked to describe Woods' reaction, White said, “He was a little disbelieving. How's that?'''
It was the third time this year Woods was given a two-shot penalty for a rules violation. At his first event of the season in Abu Dhabi, he took relief from an imbedded lie in a sandy area covered with vines. It was determined that relief was not allowed in the sand. He was docked two shots before signing his card, and it caused him to miss the cut.