"There is some leeway with the signing the incorrect card. Not with intentionally not dropping as near as possible," David Duval said on Twitter.
That it involved Woods only made it a bigger issue.
In one of his more famous incidents, Woods hit a shot that went onto the roof and over the back into a parking lot at Firestone. The ball was never found, and because there was no out-of-bounds, Woods was correctly given a free drop by the practice range. Last year at Quail Hollow, he hit a shot left of the fifth green that was never found. He was allowed a free drop because fans said a man picked it up and ran off.
"Take the fact that it was Tiger out of the equation and it is a fair ruling. Since it is him the debate begins about TV ratings etc etc," former U.S. Open champion Graeme McDowell said on Twitter.
The revision to Rule 33 was based upon the modern era of television. One example cited was Padraig Harrington, who opened with a 65 in Abu Dhabi at the start of the 2011 season. He was disqualified when a slow-motion replay on high-definition TV revealed that his ball moved ever so slightly after he replaced his marked. Harrington didn't realize it had moved — a two-shot penalty — and was disqualified for an incorrect card.
That same year, Camilo Villegas was disqualified in Hawaii when a TV viewer noticed he tamped down a divot in an area where his chip was rolling back down a slope. Rule 33 would not have applied there because Villegas did not know the rule.
Woods started the year with a rules violation. He took relief from an imbedded lie in a sandy area covered with vines in Abu Dhabi. It was determined that relief was not allowed in the sand. He was docked two shots before signing his card, and it caused him to miss the cut.
Hunter Mahan summed up the mess on Twitter: "If you think tiger should be dq'd your not wrong, if you think 2 shot penalty is enough your not wrong. Not sure the right answer."