For the sake of simplicity, all advice on swings and drills is provided from a right handed perspective; lefties …. well, you know what to do!

It was a great Masters last weekend. Adam Scott was a very deserving winner, and he’ll wear the mantle of a Masters champion well. Good to see Australia get on the board, but it would have been OK with me if Cabrerra won it and became the first grandfather to win the masters. The two playoff holes were very well played under enormous pressure, neither player gave anything away, it was won by great play.
Tiger’s Penalty.

I’m writing this newsletter on Monday morning after the Masters, and you won’t see it until Wednesday, at which time this topic will have been talked about ad nauseum – but I wanted to weigh in on it anyway.

By now most of us know that Tiger took an inappropriate drop on hole 15 during Friday’s round at the Masters, but what happened afterwards polarized a lot of people.

There was a two shot penalty imposed on Tiger, but prior to all of the details being disclosed, many of the Golf Channel’s commentators aired their opinions.

Brandel Chamblee was in his full force “Tiger hater” mode, excorciating the ruling before he knew all the facts. In fact, he as much as called Tiger a cheater, actually stating over and over again that Tiger knowingly took an illegal drop to “benefit himself” by making the shot easier to pull off.

Faldo was implying that Tiger’s career would forever be besmirched because he didn’t disqualify himself from the tournament, although he wasn’t as vitriolic about the situation as Chamblee.

The only reasonable voices were Notah Begay, a friend of Tiger’s, and Frank Nobilo – who I like more each time I hear him speak. They used guarded words and comments while waiting for the full story to unfold.

One would think that Chamblee and Faldo would have been wise enough to wait for all the facts before they made such harsh comments.

Let me preface my comments about the situation by admitting that I’m a Tiger fan, and I’m also a stickler for the rules of golf when I play.

I was glued to the TV Saturday morning while decisions were being made; and the press conference by Fred Ridley, chairman of the Masters Competition Committee, clarified the ruling.

He stated that they had been reviewing the drop on Friday before Tiger completed his round as a result of a call from a TV viewer that said Tiger’s drop after hitting his ball into the water on hole 15 was incorrect. At that time, before Tiger completed his round and signed his card, they determined that there was no violation, and the matter was closed without mentioning anything to Tiger.

Then Tiger gave a press conference and mentioned that he dropped back a little further than from where he had hit the shot that went into the water so the ball wouldn’t fly as far, unknowingly admitting to violating rule 26.

Note to Brandel Chamblee: if Tiger knew that he violated a rule, he obviously wouldn’t have said that on TV.

After the press conference, a different TV viewer called in and said that Tiger’s version of the drop amounted to him breaking a rule, and the committee reviewed everything again.

After looking at tape again, they called Tiger in Saturday morning before his round for a meeting. They informed him that after hearing his remarks, they concluded that he took an inappropriate drop and hit from a wrong spot on hole 15, and that their decision was to give him a two shot penalty.

Here’s a quote on what Ridley told the press: “I told Tiger that in light of that information that we felt that he had, in fact, violated Rule 26 under the Rules of Golf and that he was going to have to be penalized,” Ridley said.

“I also told him because we had initially made the determination that he had not violated the rule, that under Rule 33-7 that there was ample reason not to impose the penalty of disqualification but to waive that penalty and impose a two-shot penalty.”

” We had made a decision before he finished his round, before he finished his scorecard, and I think he’s entitled to be protected by 33-7, and that’s our decision, and others agree with us.”

” Disqualification this morning was not even on the table.”

Ridley further explained Woods was docked two strokes under Rule 20-7 for playing his shot from the wrong place.

So essentially Tiger was brought in and told that he was given a two shot penalty for what transpired, and then continued his play in the tournament.

Although signing an incorrect scorecard can be a DQ, in this instance the ruling was otherwise, and I think appropriate.

Note to Chamblee and Faldo and the other Tiger detractors: if you respect the rules as much as you do, don’t you you also have to respect the rulings? I think you do.

Additional note to Faldo (who I actually like): don’t whine after the fact about not having complete information before you gave your opinion, instead follow the advice my dad used to give me “look before you leap” – in other words, shut your pie hole until you get all the facts.


Love your practice, enjoy your golf,


Tom Tucker is a World Golf Teachers and United States Golf Teacher Federation-certified golf instructor. He may be contacted via his website or at the Plum Creek driving range in Batavia, NY.