I can honestly say I did not see this coming. Without a doubt, the biggest stories from the Abu Dhabi Championship revolved around Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy. Unfortunately for the two golfers, tournament organizers and fans, neither one has made the cut.
That’s right, both Tiger and Rory have missed the cut in the same tournament – one in which they were both expected to contend for a victory.
The way Tiger went about missing the cut was anything from ordinary, however. He completed his round on Friday with what he thought was an aggregate score of one over par, which would have allowed him to play the weekend. After the round, however, he was approached by a rules official, Andy McFee, who informed Woods that he would be assessed a two stroke penalty. Those two additional strokes moved Tiger to 3 over par and just outside of the top 65 players that made the cut.
The reason for Woods’ penalty was the fact that he moved a ball that was embedded in the sand, thinking that he was eligible for a free drop. “I called Martin [Kaymer] over to verify the ball was embedded. We both agreed it was embedded and evidently it was in sand,” Woods said of the infraction that happened when his drive on 5 landed in a bed of vines. “Andy ruled I broke an infraction, consequently got a two-shot penalty. Andy feels the way he feels about it and I broke the rules.” Even stranger still, the infraction was only discovered after a spectator pointed it out to the officials.
“An embedded ball relief is through the green but in ground other than sand,” McFee said. “I talked to him when he came off the 11th tee because I couldn’t be sure about a two-stroke penalty until we got into the recording area. I don’t know the exact spot where he was. I know the area. I would need Tiger to come out and have a look, and he was happy it was in sand.”
I’m sorry, but as a professional golfer, there is absolutely no excuse for not knowing the rules. At the very least, you need to confer with your caddy, and one of you should be aware of the rule for any given situation. Tiger must clearly be disappointed at missing the cut, but it has to be even harder to miss the cut in this fashion.
I’m sure he won’t make the same mistake again.