Woods, who opened with a 2-under 69 at Carnoustie, pulled his tee shot into deep rough left of the 10th fairway, and the ball settled on a strand of television cables.
The official for the Royal & Ancient Golf Club, Alan Holmes, gave him relief within one club length. That enabled Woods to take a free drop in trampled grass, allowing him to hit a long iron just short of the green. From there, he hit a nifty pitch over the edge of a pot bunker and holed an 8-foot putt to save par.
'That was a weird drop,' Woods said. 'I was probably as surprised as anybody.'
Stranger still was the explanation from Holmes. He was asked why Woods was given relief and said the ball was on TV cables. When someone suggested the cables are supposed to be moved, Holmes replied, 'They're fixed.'
But they weren't.
Mark Roe, a former European Tour player now working for the BBC, went over to the cables and moved them 3 feet. Roe later approached the officials and said he gave Woods the wrong ruling.
'I most certainly did not,' Holmes said.
It was a significant break, as Woods had 167 yards to clear the burn and 199 yards to the green. From his original lie, he probably could not have hit anywhere near the green, and might have had to play short of the burn.
'I didn't ask for it,' Woods said. 'The guy just said I could.'