Nicklaus believes Woods received proper ruling


Nearly two weeks after Tiger Woods was assessed one of golf's most-discussed penalties, the man whose major championship record he chases asserts that rules officials at Augusta National got it right.

'Could they have disqualified him? Probably,' Jack Nicklaus said of Woods while speaking at a luncheon Wednesday, according to an AP report. 'But you've got all the best rules heads together and they said that they thought there was no intent to do anything (improper) and that two strokes was a strong enough penalty. And you move on.'

During the second round of the Masters, Woods took a drop on the par-5 15th hole that was deemed to be improper after the conclusion of play that afternoon. While questions swirled about whether the 14-time major champion would be disqualified prior to Saturday's third round, he was instead assessed a two-shot penalty and allowed to remain in the event, ultimately finishing in a tie for fourth, four shots behind winner Adam Scott.

As the situation began to create an increasingly larger cloud over the season's first major, many were outspoken in their opinions that Woods should withdraw from the event to avoid a result possibly tainted in controversy. According to Nicklaus, Woods made the right decision to remain in the field.

'People say, 'Should Tiger have withdrawn himself?' I don't think so at all,' explained Nicklaus, himself a winner of 18 majors. 'If Tiger did that, he'd be putting himself in a position of saying, 'I'm above the rules.' You accept the ruling whether it's good or bad for you.'