NASSAU, Bahamas – Tiger Woods was just trying to move his ball a few yards away from a bush to give himself a chance at bogey on the 18th hole Friday at the Hero World Challenge.
He took an awkward hack with an awkward stance and video replay later revealed the possibility that he might have hit the ball twice. Because that was only apparent in slow motion, he did not receive a penalty under rule 34-3/10 which states, in part:
‘In such situations, if the Committee concludes that such facts could not reasonably have been seen with the naked eye and the player was not otherwise aware of a potential breach of the Rules, the player will be deemed not to have breached the Rules, even when video technology shows otherwise.’
Here’s what PGA Tour Vice President of Rules and Competitions Mark Russell said when speaking with media about the incident.
On the ruling:
“Well, Tiger was under a bush and we did determine that he did make a stroke at it. He didn’t scrape or spoon or push the ball. And when he did that, Tiger said that he did not think he hit the ball twice. Looking at it in the regular speed on a high-definition television, you couldn’t tell that at all, but when you slowed it down to ultraslow motion high-definition television, you could see where the club did stay on the clubface quite a bit of time and it looked like he might have hit it twice, but there’s no way he could tell that.
In this age of high-definition slow motion television, we’ve got a decision at 34-3/10, Limitations on Use of Video Evidence. 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, so there’s no penalty there.”
On what was happening during the decision-making process:
“We had to look at a lot of things. That’s the great thing about golf, you can review some things and take a look at some things and look at some decisions. That’s what we came up with. … We looked at it from both angles they had and that’s what we determined. We didn’t want to do a knee-jerk thing. We had to talk to Tiger and see what he said and we went from there.”
On whether or not Tiger was asked if he wanted to retroactively call a penalty on himself:
“No. I mean, we just asked him if he thought he hit the ball twice, he said no. He didn’t, that’s the only way you could tell. If you looked at it regular speed, it wouldn’t enter your mind that he did, but if you look at it ultraslow motion, the ball did stay on the club face quite a long time.”