2013 Golf: The Two Stroke Penalty That Won’t Go Away

Apr 10, 2013; Augusta, GA, USA; Jack Nicklaus (left) shakes hands with Sebastian Player (right) as Gary Player (middle) looks on as they stand on the 9th green during the Par 3 Contest before the 2013 The Masters golf tournament at Augusta National Golf Club. Mandatory Credit: Jack Gruber-USA TODAY Sports

Here it is, three weeks in the rear-view mirror, and Tiger Woods‘ two-stroke penalty at The Masters is still a topic for conversation. The one thing about Tiger Woods is, even when he isn’t playing, he is still good for conversation. Isn’t that one of the things that make him great? If it was anyone else, no one would be talking about it, and no one would care.

Of course, we are talking about Tigers shot to the 15th green on Friday at The Masters that hit the bottom of the flagstick and ricocheted back into the water. Everyone who is anyone has given us their two cents on the subject, but Emily Kay at SB Nation has posted a story where 18 time Major Champion Jack Nicklaus has chimed in with his opinion. One would think Jack’s opinion would be the most important, keeping in mind it’s his record Tiger is trying to beat, and I for one thinks he has the right idea.

In a press conference at a luncheon honoring his support via The Memorial Tournament for Nationwide Childrens Hospitals, and reported by The Associated Press, Nickolas said

“Could they have disqualified him? Probably, But you’ve got all the best rules heads together and they said that they thought there was no intent to do anything [improper] and that two strokes was a strong enough penalty. And you move on”.

“People say, ‘Should Tiger have withdrawn himself?’ I don’t think so at all,” said the 18-time major champion. “If Tiger did that, he’d be putting himself in a position of saying, ‘I’m above the rules.’ You accept the ruling whether it’s good or bad for you.”

Jack’s opinion wasn’t shared by 2010 British Open Champ, Louis Oosthuizen. The popular South African who is the seventh ranked player in the world has went on the record as saying that Woods signed an incorrect score card and should have either been disqualified, or DQ’d himself.

I really hate this rule, especially if the governing bodies are going to look at violations after the fact. I wholeheartedly disagree with a player being disqualified after he finishes his round, signs his score card and gets disqualified because someone calls in, or tweets that a mistake was made. It’s just not right. Most time, players are unaware that they have made a mistake, because if they realized they violated a rule, they always call it on themselves at the time of the violation.

I think the PGA, and all of the ruling bodies need to give this problem more attention so players don’t get the raw end of  a deal where they didn’t know they were erring. This is, in my opinion more urgent than Long Putters, Slow Play, and Deer Antler Spray.

In his interview, Nicklaus also commented on the one-stroke penalty that was given to Guan Tianlang at the 17th hole for slow play.

‘He’s in the eighth grade! The eighth grade and he’s playing in the Masters!” Nicklaus said. ”And he gets a penalty? Can you imagine giving a 14-year-old kid a penalty for slow play?”

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Topics: Golf, Guan Tianlang, Jack Nicklaus, PGA, Tiger Woods

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