Perhaps even bigger than an Australian wining the Masters for the first time this year was the rule broken by Golf’s superstar.
We all saw what happened as Tiger attempted an approach shot from the fairway on the 15th hole. A beautifully hit shot was hit a little too perfectly as Tiger’s ball careened with the tee and rolled into the water. What happened next though, was the huge story.
Tiger took a drop that was later called illegal and cost him 2 strokes on his scorecard. Debate about whether or not the drop was illegal is still being discussed but the bigger confusion was the fact that a reported fan watching at home was the one who called in the penalty on Tiger. Finally, we find out that that caller in fact was Champions Tour golfer David Eger. Eger talked to Sports Illustrated about the process and how he went about actually saving Tiger in retrospect.
“I could see there was a divot — not a divot, a divot hole — when he played the shot the second time that was not there the first time. I played it again and again. I could see that the fairway was spotless the first time he played the shot and there was that divot hole, maybe three or four feet in front of where he played after the drop.”
According to Eger he then placed a call to Mickey Bradley, a friend who happened to be working on the rules committee at the Masters.
[Mickey] Bradley immediately called [competition committee chairman Fred] Ridley and Russell, the veteran PGA Tour administrator who is on the three-man Masters competition committee that is chaired by Ridley, a former U.S. Amateur champion and USGA president. Bradley also forwarded Eger’s text to Russell and Ridley. In his text, Eger wrote that Woods ‘didn’t appear to play by Rule 26-1-a.’ He wrote that he ‘appeared to be 3-4 feet back’ from his divot mark.”
It should be noted that Eger’s call saved Woods from disqualification, because it spurred Ridley’s incorrect interpretation, which was challenged by Woods’s own comments to ESPN, which enabled Ridley to invoke rule 33-7, the one that allows wrongs to be righted.
The fact that somebody from the outside could call in this penalty is still sort of mind-blowing. But I guess Tiger should actually be thanking him.