Woods given Masters reprieve, two-shot penalty
By Mark Lamport-Stokes
AUGUSTA, Georgia (Reuters) - Tiger Woods controversially avoided disqualification from the Masters on Saturday when officials used discretionary powers to hand him a two-stroke penalty for taking an illegal drop during Friday's second round.
The world number one, a hot favorite at Augusta National where he is a four-times champion, earned his reprieve following a lengthy review by Masters officials of a penalty drop he took at the par-five 15th.
Aided by a recently amended rule announced at the 2011 Masters, Woods was not disqualified for signing an incorrect scorecard because his infringement was based on television evidence.
"I was unaware at that time I had violated any rules. I didn't know I had taken an incorrect drop prior to signing my scorecard," Woods said in a statement posted on his Twitter account.
"Subsequently, I met with the Masters committee Saturday morning and was advised they had reviewed the incident prior to the completion of my round. Their initial determination was that there was no violation, but they had additional concerns based on my post-round interview.
"After discussing the situation with them this morning, I was assessed a two-shot penalty. I understand and accept the penalty and respect the committee's decision."
Woods suffered an unlucky bounce with his third shot at the 15th when his approach struck the flagstick before ricocheting backwards off the green and then down the slope into Rae's Creek.
Instead of going to the drop area on the far side of the water, he chose to play his fifth shot from the same place as his third, going two yards back before getting up and down from there to salvage a bogey six. Continued...