Competitions committee's Ridley defends Augusta


AUGUSTA, Ga. – Fred Ridley, the Masters competitions committee chairman, took to the stand Saturday to defend the tournament's decision regarding Tiger Woods’ drop on No. 15 during the second round.

By now you’ve heard that Woods’ third shot into 15 hit the flagstick and ricocheted into the water. Woods took a drop near his original position and got up and down for what he believed was a bogey.

Ridley said the Masters competitions committee looked into a possible rule violation when Woods was playing the 18th hole and determined there was no wrongdoing. At 10 p.m., Ridley was informed that a viewer had called to say that Woods’ drop did not look correct. Masters’ officials contacted Woods’ management and set up an 8 a.m. meeting for Saturday.

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“Under Rule 33-7 there was ample information not to impose the penalty of disqualification,” Ridley said in a resounding manner. “Disqualification this morning was not even on the table.”

The USGA, R&A, PGA and European tours were all alerted of the decision to penalize Woods two-strokes in accordance to Rule 33-7 and Ridley said all four organizations agreed with the call.

“They have concurred with our decision,” he said.

Scuttlebutt has been rampant on social media, among other places, and some believe that the decision was made to protect the world No. 1 player and the game’s biggest draw.

“I can’t control what the perception might or might not be,” Ridley said. “This tournament is about integrity. If this had been John Smith from wherever, he would’ve gotten the right ruling. It’s the right ruling under the circumstance.”