Rule change almost derails Tiger Woods’s birdie putt at Torrey Pines

January 25, 2019

Tiger Woods’s tee shot on the par-3 11th hole at Torrey Pines’s South Course on Thursday was almost perfect. But that quality swing was almost ruined moments later when Woods was confronted by the new rules of golf, and nearly screwed up.

After almost making a hole-in-one with a beautiful iron shot into the 11th green, Woods was left with a simple three-footer to make birdie and move to two under in the first round of the Farmers Insurance Open. But as he addressed his putt, he noticed his ball move ever so slightly.

When that happened, Tiger stepped away from his ball, and momentarily looked confused with how to proceed. Under one of the many rule changes enacted this year, when a ball accidentally moves after a player has addressed the putt, the player is required to replace the ball on its original spot and then hit the putt without penalty.

But Tiger, who is playing under the new rules for the first time in competition this week, was used to the old rule, so he almost went ahead and hit his putt, before reconsidering and calling in a rules official.

“As I was about to build my stance, the ball moved. Normally I just play it where it is, but now I had to move it back to where it originally was and then play it from there,” Woods told Golf Channel after his round. “That was a little bit different.”

You can watch his tee shot and birdie putt below.

So in the end nothing came of it, and Tiger (with some help) eventually followed the new rule properly, and then drained his shortie for his third birdie of the day.

It wasn’t the only time Woods had a run in with the new rules on Thursday. Less than an hour before, Tiger putted with the pin in for the first time on a lengthy birdie try at the 8th hole, something he admittedly is still “trying to get used to.”

Woods tees off for the second round on Torrey Pines’s easier North Course at 12:30 p.m. ET on Friday.