Superstar golfer Tiger Woods will get a two-shot penalty but be allowed to continue playing at the Masters.
The ruling comes after he was possibly facing disqualification over an illegal drop he may have made on a shot he took during the tournament Friday.
The 37-year-old Woods began Saturday at 3-under par, but with the penalty he drops to 1-under par, leaving him 5 shots behind the leader at 6-under par.
“This is going to the most controversial thing that follows him around for the rest of his career, this is a flagrant, obvious, violation,” said Brandel Chamblee from The Golf Channel.
The shot in question was Woods’ third shot into the par-5 15th hole on Friday. It hit the pin and spun back into the water.
Following the round, Woods said he dropped the ball “two yards away” from its original position before proceeding to hit his fifth shot.
“I went down to the drop area, that wasn’t going to be a good spot, because obviously it’s into the grain,” Woods said. “And it was a little bit wet. So it was muddy and not a good spot to drop.”
“So I went back to where I played it from, but I went two yards further back. I tried to take two yards off the shot of what I felt I hit – that should land me short of the flag and not have it either hit the flag or skip over the back.”
According to the United States Golf Association rule 26-1a, a player must take their drop “as nearly as possible at the spot from which the original ball was last played.”
If Woods did not, he should have incurred a two-stoke penalty, meaning he would have signed an incorrect scorecard for a 1-under 71, instead of an even par 72.
Woods, meanwhile, made a statement through Twitter explaining his actions and accepting the ruling.
“At hole #15, I took a drop that I thought was correct and in accordance with the rules. 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.
“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 Committees’ decision.”