LAKE FOREST, Ill. – If you felt like you were watching golf’s version of “Groundhog Day” Friday, you weren’t alone.
In what has become a running theme throughout the 2013 season, world No. 1 Tiger Woods again found himself in the crosshairs of a tournament rules committee, this time watching his second-round 70 at the BMW Championship become a 72 after he was deemed to have moved his ball while attempting to remove a loose impediment on the first hole Friday.
Woods’ most notable rules run-in this year came at the Masters, where the four-time winner made an illegal drop after finding the water hazard on the 15th hole during his second round. Though the violation did not come to light until after Woods signed his scorecard, tournament officials met Friday night and Saturday morning, ultimately opting to assess Woods a two-shot penalty. He went on to tie for fourth, four shots out of a playoff with Adam Scott and Angel Cabrera.
Prior to that, though, another penalty caused Woods to miss the cut in his first event of 2013, the Abu Dhabi Championship. After taking what he believed to be a free drop from an embedded lie during the second round, Woods was determined by European Tour rules officials to have taken the drop illegally. The resulting penalty turned his 73 into a 75, and Woods went from making the 36-hole cut by a shot to missing it by the same margin.
Another incident occurred at The Players Championship in May, where Woods was scrutinized for a drop he made on the 14th hole Sunday after hooking his tee shot into the water hazard. Though overhead camera angles appeared to show that the ball may not have crossed the far margin of the hazard, Woods and playing partner Casey Wittenberg both agreed that it had crossed land before drifting back into the hazard. Woods went on to double-bogey the hole, though he ultimately won the event by two shots.
Following Friday’s round at Conway Farms, Woods was shown video evidence that when he attempted to move a large stick in front of his ball behind the first green, the ball moved and came to rest in a slightly different position. Though he maintained that he believed the ball merely oscillated, PGA Tour rules officials disagreed and Woods was assessed a two-shot penalty for playing his ball from an incorrect position. As a result, he dropped from a tie for fourth into a tie for 13th after two rounds, and will now head into the weekend seven shots behind co-leaders Brandt Snedeker and Jim Furyk.