Here's why the Tiger Woods "double hit" controversy won't be an issue for golfers in 2019

November 30, 2018

Tiger Woods has encountered his fair share of rules controversies over the course of his career, and in the second round of the Hero World Challenge he added another to the list.
After hitting his drive into a bush off the tee, Woods had to take a stance on his knees in order to address the ball. He spent a lot of time assessing his lie and the best angle of attack for the shot, eventually taking a swipe and advancing the ball a few yards away from the bush, into the first cut.
Woods ended up with a double bogey on his final hole, which derailed what had been an excellent round. Still, he signed for a three-under-par 69.
But a bit of additional intrigue ensued when Tiger headed into the scoring tent and had to review the footage of the shot on 18. The issue? A potential “double hit.”

The irony is, if Woods encountered this situation a mere five weeks from now, the double hit wouldn’t even be a reviewable offense, because the USGA’s revised Rules of Golf would be in effect. 

Today the penalty for a double hit remains one stroke, per Rule 14-4. There was also a question of whether or not Woods breached Rule 14-1a, which stipulates that a ball must be “fairly struck” and not “pushed, scraped or spooned.”
After the review, Woods was cleared of any penalty pertaining to his shot from the bush.
Interestingly, Woods admitted after his round that the slow-motion footage of his shot showed that he did indeed strike the ball twice.

But because the infraction wasn’t discernible by the naked eye, he was spared a penalty. The reason? Decision 34-3/10 (which took effect in April last year) limits the use of video evidence in support of an infraction. In simple terms, if an infraction can’t be seen with the naked eye, a player is in the clear, even if video evidence shows otherwise.
You can watch a full video of Woods’s shot from the bush below.