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Out of the Woods
Tiger Woods escaped disqualification from the Masters and will be looking to lift the Claret Cup in Scotland in July
Monday, 22 April, 2013 | 09:00
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Credit: Keith Allison

The second round at Augusta and Tiger Woods was tied for the lead at the par five 15th. His shot from in front of the pond was lobbed onto the green. It hit the flagstick, before rolling back into the water.

That shot would have given him a two shot-lead but controversy ensued. Tiger dropped his ball two yards behind its original placement and, with the help of a television viewer, it came to light that it should have resulted in a two-stroke penalty. Tiger signed a six on his scorecard when he should have signed an eight. Historically, that would have resulted in disqualification but, due to a technicality, his penalty was waived.

Whether he should have been disqualified has been debated by many. Of course, there were vested interests in keeping Tiger in the competition. Viewing figures plummet by an average of 40 per cent whenever the biggest name in world golf misses the cut in a competition. It has become fashionable for television viewers to pull up any discrepancies that go unnoticed. When a golf tournament is covered by the television, the viewer will only see more shots played by players in contention than the rest of the field. In the interests of fairness, it should not be allowed that a television viewer can affect the result.

On the other hand, the integrity of the game, with its mosaic of complex rules and sub-rulings, should have been adhered to, and some say Tiger was lucky to stay in the Masters.

After years of scandal and injury, Tiger may have lost the respect of millions of his fans, but it seems that his sporting talent is back. Since the turn of the year, he has won three out of seven tournaments, and still finished fourth at the Masters, despite the penalty. He finished 2012 with five successive top-10 finishes.

Tiger is back on the hunt for the record 18 major titles held by Jack Nicklaus. He rarely lets a winning position slip and had that shot dropped in the hole would have added a 15th major title, and fifth Green Jacket, to his trophy cabinet. At the age of 37, he still has the time and the talent to win a final four majors.

His best chance this year appears to be at The Open at Muirfield in July. Tiger simply loves playing in Scotland. Two of his three Open victories have been at the Old Course, and the St Andrews locals welcome him as if he is one of their own. They will be out in force again in July and Tiger will be one of the favourites to lift the Claret Jug. Expect him to be in contention again this year.

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