So what did we learn from the 2013 edition of The Masters? Or, as my non-golf friends call it, “that green sport coat thing”
Australia’s first-ever Masters champion Adam Scott used a long belly-putter, which could be outlawed by golf in 2015. I didn’t see Scott have an unfair advantage in his sensational playoff duel with Argentina’s Angel Cabrera. I just saw a guy figure out the tricky speed and breaks to convert two must-have putts.
We also found out if you don’t call a foul on yourself, some know-it-all watching his high definition flat screen somewhere in Kentucky has the inside phone number to Augusta National Golf Club, and can call a 2-stroke penalty on the world’s top player.
Tiger Woods had to know the close proximity rule (20-7) Friday afternoon when he dropped his golf ball two yards behind the original divot on the 15th hole. Until Woods admitted he knew what he was doing during an ESPN television interview, Masters officials appeared willing to look past Wood’s violation.
Disqualifying Woods was never discussed, according to Fred Ridley, chairman of the Masters competition committee. He had already signed his scorecard before the infraction was brought to his attentino. Also, a new rule protects the players from being kicked out by an alert television viewer.
Withdrawing from the tournament was an option for Tiger Woods. It would have sent a clear message he’s not above the rules, and cares about the integrity of the game.
In the same Masters we saw officials quick to assess a one stroke penalty on 14-year-old Tianling Guan for slow play. Really! C’mon, it was a 6 hour round for every golfer in the field. Did the officials see how long Jason Day lined up his putts? Fortunately, the Chinese teenager did make the cut to remove another embarrassing situation.
No question Tiger Woods success is the primary reason so many youngsters have and are trying golf. If the game is going to attract new blood and grow, it needs to think hard about some of its archaic rules and traditions, and enforce some of its core principles like honesty, integrity.
-Bill Swartz, 1090TheFan
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