Woods avoids penalty after double-hit on final hole
November 30, 2018
By Mike McAllister, PGATOUR.COM
Tiger Woods' interview after Round 2 of Hero
NASSAU, Bahamas – Despite a double-hit on his second shot from under a bush off the 18th fairway, Tiger Woods avoided losing two strokes on his last hole en route to a 3-under 69 in Friday’s second round of the Hero World Challenge.
Woods was not aware that he had hit the ball twice with his clubface, and the double-hit was detected only through the use of ultraslow motion on a high-definition TV. Decision 34-3/10 of the USGA rules put limitations on use of video evidence. Mark Russell, PGA TOUR Vice President of Rules and Competition, said that Woods’ double-hit at 18 falls under that decision.
“Basically it says if the player did not know that he did that and the only way you can tell that is by using this type of slow-motion technology, he’s exempt from the rules,” said Russell, who viewed the replay at the nearby TV compound. “So there’s no penalty there.”
Woods’ tee shot at the par-4 18th finished in a sandy area under a bush to the right of the fairway. While kneeling on his right knee, Woods used an 8-iron to flick the ball back onto the grass.
After finishing his round with a double-bogey at 18, Woods waited 25 minutes before signing his scorecard and emerging from the tent, having met with rules officials to determine if there was a penalty. Woods said he wasn’t aware there was even an issue until he reached the scoring area.
“I didn’t feel like I made contact twice,” said Woods, who is 2 under through 36 holes, eight shots off the lead shared by Jon Rahm and Henrik Stenson. “It was such a short little shot. I was just trying to hit it sideways there. Under slow-motion and high def, you can see that the ball hit the clubface twice, but there’s – I don’t know, there is no penalty. …
“In slow motion, you can see I did hit it twice, but in real time, I didn’t feel that at all.”
Had the penalty been assessed, Woods would’ve lost one stroke. In addition, he would’ve had to count the second hit as a stroke. Thus, his double-bogey would’ve turned into a quadruple bogey.
Russell said Woods was asked point-blank if he thought he hit the ball twice, and Tiger responded that he didn’t, thus bringing the current rule in play.
“If you looked at it regular speed, it wouldn’t enter your mind that he did,” Russell said, “but if you look at it ultraslow motion, the ball did stay on the clubface quite a long time.”
Starting in 2019, the rule will change, with no penalty assessed but the second stroke added to the scorecard. Of course, that discussion didn’t come into play Friday.
“We’re operating in the rules we’re dealing with right now,” Russell said. “It’s confusing enough as is.”
The double-bogey at 18 is nothing new for Woods. In his last 10 rounds at the Albany course dating back to 2016, he has suffered four double-bogeys or worse and is a collective 9 over par on that hole.
“Let’s just say I don’t play that hole well,” Woods said.