— AUGUSTA, Ga. (AP) — Tiger Woods got a reprieve Saturday in the Masters when he was given a two-shot penalty for a bad drop but was allowed to stay in the tournament.
Woods' shot on the par-5 15th hole of the second round hit the flag stick and bounced back into the water. He took his penalty drop two yards behind where he hit the original shot, which was a rules violation.
Augusta National reviewed the incident Saturday morning before the third round began and added the two-stroke penalty for an improper drop. Woods had a 73 instead of a 71 and went into the weekend five shots out of the lead.
But they did not disqualify him for signing an incorrect scorecard under a new rule — announced at the Masters two years ago — that allows a player to stay in the tournament if a rules dispute was based on television evidence.
"At hole (hash)15, I took a drop that I thought was correct and in accordance with the rules. I was unaware at that time I had violated any rules," Woods said on Twitter.
The decision grabbed more attention than any shot at this Masters, especially coming one day after 14-year-old Guan Tianlang was penalized one shot for slow play, which nearly caused him to miss the cut. Woods not only is the No. 1 player and golf's biggest star, he had won two straight tournaments coming into the Masters. He was the overwhelming favorite to win, ending a five-year drought in the majors, and capture the green jacket for the first time since 2005.
While the violation was apparent, Augusta National took the blame by saying its rules committee reviewed a video before Woods finished his round Friday and determined his drop was within the rules. The club said a television viewer prompted the review.