After watching and re-watching Woods take a drop on the 15th hole in the second round, Eger – who worked for years as a tournament director with both the PGA Tour and the USGA and now plays on the Champions Tour – told SI that he phoned PGA Tour rules official Mickey Bradley, who was working the Masters but had already left the course for the day.
“I could see there was a divot – not a divot, a divot hole – when he played the shot the second time that was not there the first time,” Eger told SI.
According to SI, Bradley then relayed the info to Fred Ridley, the Masters’ competition committee chairman, and Mark Russell, the PGA Tour’s vice president of rules and competition, saying that Woods “didn’t appear to play by Rule 26 1-a” – requiring a player to drop “as nearly as possible” to the previous position – and “appeared to be 3-4 feet back” from the original divot for his third shot, according to the report.
After Woods finished his round, Ridley reportedly sent a text back to Bradley, explaining that Woods “was closer than that,” referring to Eger’s reference of 3-4 feet back, and that a closer examination of the situation would be “splitting hairs.” So Ridley did not ask Woods about the drop that day.
Eger’s call, however, saved Woods from being disqualified, because it enabled Ridley to invoke Rule 33-7, a revision that allows a disqualification to be waived. Woods, then, was assessed a two-shot penalty and allowed to continue playing.