Should Tiger Have Withdrawn? Split Opinion From The A Position

Should Tiger Woods withdraw from the Masters was the question of the hour, and I had about an hour to hear from any of The A Position team checking emails at the time.

I asked for a Yea or Nay vote, and said I’d throw up a Tweet before TW’s 1:45 third round tee time. But since a few intriguing comments rolled in as well, here’s the thread:

Casey Alexander: No, the player is NEVER responsible for the ruling. See Arnold Palmer playing a second ball after he has already holed out on 12 and going on to win.

John Torsiello: Why should he withdraw, he’s going to win the thing.

Michael Patrick Shiels: MPS says the committee has ruled. It’s technically out of his hands if he respects the committee.

Roberto Borgatti: No.

Herb Gould: No. A four-shot penalty for hitting a perfect shot is sufficient. Besides, between the people who love TW, and those who love to hate him, nobody would be left to watch the tournament.

Ken Van Vechten: He should either pull out or be disqualified. He admitted to cheating, bottom line, and I don’t care if it was initially reviewed and cleared by the committee.

John Strawn: Yea. New approach to bifurcation–one set of rules for Tiger, another for everyone else.

Emily Kay: TW’s tweets answer that question. [Tiger’s Tweets over at @TigerWoods today included the statement, “I understand and accept the penalty and respect the Committees’ decision.”]

Ken Van Vechten: I guess there is now precedent NOT to kick Vijay out for his PED violation.

Emily Kay: Right — since he didn’t know he was in violation? Unfortunately, no HDTV rule covers ingesting l’eau de Bambi

James Mason: He should withdraw, he knows he was improving the line, distance and lie, if he had any integrity he would disqualify himself. Do you think we would be having this conversation if this was Jack Nicklaus? No, because he would have already DQed himself.

Peter Kessler: You mean Nicklaus would tell the rules folks they weren’t being harsh enough and he’d therefore overrule them with a self-imposed dq? “That’ll show me,” Jack would say? Uh, no.

James Mason: Firstly I don’t think Nicklaus would have tried to improve the line and lie, but I also know/think Nicklaus wouldn’t let the rules be bent the way they have to keep him in. It wouldn’t have been “his people talking to, their people to see how we can ‘resolve’ this issue.”

Dennis Silvers: Kessler is the only one I know of that would have been smart enough to have asked a rules official if the drop was okay rather then just assuming! He got a “pass” from the committee so why not play!

Ken Van Vechten: What Fred Ridley is missing isn’t the safety-valve rationalization he’s continually beating on. The issue is that Tiger KNEW he’d done something wrong. He purposely as he stated to ESPN changed the yardage to give him a better shot opportunity.

Janina Jacobs: This is what happens when you do not think things through. He was mad and acted hastily. The rules officials won’t interfere unless you ask for their help and had Tiger done that he would be OK. Clearly he knew what he was doing but didn’t think it was wrong at the time. He now knows if is and should be DQ’d for signing an incorrect scorecard. If Masters officials choose to allow him to remain under some ‘local’ rule,Tiger may certainly accept it; however, should he win, the victory will be tainted. If he can live with it, so be it. Personally, it would be hard for me to play knowing I should have been disqualified. I think Tiger would begin to repair his image mightily if he offered to WD.

Tom Harack: No. Absurd to have him withdraw. The rule was sensibly devised to cover this situation. The system works, for a change.

Peter Kessler: Tainted, shmainted. Only an idiot would DQ themselves. He didn’t act in anger and he didn’t act hastily. Not one player who ever lived would have overruled the committee and said hurt me more sir, it’s not enough. Your thoughts on his image are sadly out of place.

Casey Alexander: Having played competitive for years the reality is no player overrules the committee. If the committee makes a a bad ruling so be it. It is never the players responsibility to overrule the committee.

Jeff Neuman: Yea — he should WD. No matter what the committee says, HE knows what he did was improper under the rules. This is NOT an “exceptional individual circumstance” under the discretionary Rule 33-7. It is a garden-variety, “I didn’t know the Rules” violation…There never should have been an issue for a committee. When Tiger heard what had happened — or any self-respecting golfer with understanding of the rules and the notions behind them — the only proper thing for him to do was to tell the committee not to bother with a ruling, he would be withdrawing from the tournament. The ONLY proper thing. Not that I’m holding my breath for him to do something like that. Would Jack have waited for a committee to rule? Would Byron? Would Bobby Freakin’ Jones? Golf is not supposed to be a game of “Just win, baby” and let the umpires sort things out. Not even on the pro level. What the Committee did today was to neuter the DQ penalty for signing a card with a too-low score. Maybe it should be neutered — maybe it’s always been too severe, and there should be more room for common sense. But that’s a matter for the USGA and the R&A to take up, not ANGC’s Tournament Committee. And it’s particularly absurd a day after Guan’s slow-play penalty (a penalty I agreed with).

James Mason: Everyone is flirting round the issue. I understand he wouldn’t over rule the committee etc, he’s a professional sportsman it’s his job. But is this good for the game of Golf? No it is not. Golf and the masters have now sold their soul for TV money. Golf was the one game that still held high the principles of sportsmanship and integrity, today my friends Golf just become like any other sport, where winning at all costs is now the mantra. I for one think its a very sad day for the game.

Jeff Wallach: Whatever you think I can guarantee you this: he will blame the media….


My own feeling is that Tiger is clearly within his right to play, as his response suggests. There was a ruling, he’s abiding by it, and let’s move on. But whether it would have been better for him to fall on his sword and withdraw? Probably one for the ages.

I went off to a wedding yesterday afternoon, missing most of the third round while comments kept piling up in my inbox. Tempers rose, but I’ll spare you the blood-letting, beyond a final comment from colleague Jay Stuller. But I would also direct readers to fellow TAPster David DeSmith’s long piece on the issue, “DropGate — Did Golf Drop a Shot at Augusta Today?

Jay Stuller: My oh my: Tiger Woods and his latest development turns The A Position stable into an insanely divided Red State–Blue State confederation about to rupture like a neoplastic spleen. On one hand we have incendiary critics caterwauling against Woods and the ANGC decision with the intensity and conviction of a Fox News personality, only to earn themselves approbation from Judge Kessler, who with the other hand issues right-uppercut opinions with the gentility of a young Mike Tyson. Ah, the passion, as the young folks like to call it. Well-played, fellow TAPsters, well-played. However, no matter whether you dislike Tiger Woods or Barry Bonds–to draw a parallel–there are no “asterisks” in golf or baseball records; an asterisk is in reality merely a fiction in the mind of an observer who has an audience in print or other media, and with his or her like-minded followers. A win by Woods would be a win, and all other interpretation is merely lather, freely and thickly applied, but nonetheless lather. Otherwise, my opinion on the entire affair is largely agnostic, which probably says more about me than the issue at hand, which is why I’ve not previously entered the blood-soaked TAP Coliseum. Enjoy tomorrow’s bread and circuses fireworks you golf-writing gladiators, and definitely re-engage if the outcome is personally displeasing. I will read in shock and awe from a safe distance.


2 Responses to “Should Tiger Have Withdrawn? Split Opinion From The A Position”

  1. Brian McCallen

    The two-year-old rule was applied correctly, if a little late. Tiger has been assessed the penalty for the improper drop, but his post-round comment about “picking up an extra two yards” spoke volumes about his intent to gain an advantage.

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