April 14, 2013

The misinterpretation the Masters and Tiger Woods counted on?

Here's Thomas Boswell in the Washington Post:
On Friday, Tiger Woods made a gigantic blunder in applying the rules of golf, a brain cramp unworthy of a veteran pro.... But his subsequent mistake, taking an improper drop, ultimately cost him two shots and will haunt and may doom his chances to win this Masters.

But that’s all he did wrong.

Woods was so unaware of his gaffe that he gave three TV interviews in which he described in detail what he thought was a smart piece of strategy but was in reality a clear violation of a rule so simple many hackers grasp it.

In fact, Woods’s candid comments were the sole cause of his penalty.
It’s hard to believe that Woods, a tour pro for 17 years and a high-level competitor for more than 25, could not know or could even become temporarily confused about where you drop a ball after you hit into water.

But it is far harder to believe that Woods would deliberately break a rule, benefit by it, get away with it, sign his card for it, stand in fourth place in the Masters after 36 holes and then voluntarily tell the world every pertinent fact that could get him penalized or disqualified from the Masters. In fact, with current data, it is impossible to believe. Tiger just screwed up.
That's what Woods and the Masters officials want you to think, that Woods's self-incriminating statement is evidence that he didn't realize he'd done something wrong. But there's another interpretation: Woods made that statement to manufacture the evidence that is being interpreted to mean that he wasn't aware of the rule. He was playing dumb to avoid disqualification. Why assume dumb? I assume smart, especially since he had a lot of time to think about it, he has advisers, and it's in the interest of the Masters to keep him in the tournament for the ratings.

Here are Bill Pennington and Karen Crouse in the NYT, explaining how the officials arrived at the decision to regard this signing of an incorrect scorecard as "exceptional," thus avoiding disqualification:
A friend of a rules official saw something on television that looked improper, an illegal drop by Woods after his ball plunked into a pond at the 15th hole.

Masters officials would not reveal the identity of the texter, but the claim was brought before the Masters rules committee, which decided there was no violation. Then, about an hour later, Woods inadvertently implicated himself, saying that before dropping the ball he had taken two steps back, which was not permitted under the circumstances.
It's this time lapse that made me suspicious. The officials considered the matter, and said there was no violation, except that there was. An entire hour passes, after which Woods comes out and says something that sounds like he's casually recounting the set of events and he drops in there the statement that makes it clear he violated the rule. The fact that people like Boswell leap to read Woods's statement to mean that he didn't know he was signing an incorrect scorecard is why it could have been a brilliant scheme to plan exactly that statement in the hour that Woods had to think about how to handle the problem.

But you may ask: What about the fact the Masters rules committee had told him they'd seen no violation? I don't know what they told him. I only know what we were told, and I understand the motive for them to collude with Woods and his advisers and I know what happened an hour later.

Back to the NYT:
The process for Saturday’s ruling might have been especially delicate; removing Woods from the Masters could have ruined TV ratings and deprived the world’s top-ranked player of his best chance in several years to win his 15th major championship.
"Delicate" is a word. "Corrupt" is another.
But Masters officials said neither Woods’s popularity nor his pursuit of history was a factor. They had absolved him of wrongdoing on Friday; a day later, they said they could not impose the harsh penalty that goes with signing an incorrect scorecard — disqualification — because their earlier decision mitigated his culpability.
In my conspiracy theory, the officials knew on Friday that they needed to disqualify him, but they didn't want to lose him, and they created a time window that allowed Woods to do his innocent dumb guy performance, after which they'd assess the 2-stroke penalty and the sportswriters like Boswell — who also benefit, getting to write about Tiger and not all those other golfers few readers care about — spin the story the way they need it: Somehow the well-seasoned Woods forgot a basic rule of golf because there's no way he'd describe doing exactly what we can see him do on the video unless he thought there was nothing wrong with it.

I don't know what went on behind the scenes. I'm just saying those who hear Woods's statement and think it can only mean one thing are plainly wrong. Think of the motives and think of that 1-hour time gap. There is a lot of money at stake here, and there's a concurrence of interests between the golf authorities and Woods.

ADDED: "Even if they told me I could play, I would slam my trunk and be on my way up the road."

145 comments:

wyo sis said...

Tiger Woods is dishonest.
Nothing to see here.
Just another day.

The Drill SGT said...

Don't play golf, don't know the rules, but my understanding was that a signature on an incorrect scorecard was a death sentence for a tournement...

Quayle said...

All must bend and break to the greatness of Tiger Woods.

Wife.

Children.

Cast-aside lovers?

Even the very game itself.

Destruction in his wake, but money in his pocket and adoring fans at his feet.

Lincolntf said...

Oh cripes. Occam needs a sharpener.

AJ Lynch said...

Hah Donovan McNabb was in his 11th year in the NFL and did not know overtime was sudden death.

pm317 said...

A fine analysis from the lawyer that you are. Taking it one step further what would be the evidence to conclude that your version is what happened? This is not a confrontational question because I agree with your version of things happening. It is all about big money for the bigwigs. I find it disgusting.

Sam L. said...

Occam needs an axe, Lincolntf. And needs to use it.

CEO-MMP said...

Do you and Meade routinely have to duck into the bushes to avoid the thundering herds of zebras roaring past you, Professor?

St. George said...

What about the guy who opened his umbrella just as Tiger dropped the ball? And those three men on the overpass? And if you slow down the footage, you can see in frame #684 that his hand is going backwards not forwards. That is the exact opposite of what the so-called official report says!!! And how can it be that Tiger was seen in Mexico City at the same time the golf match was underway? And what about those leaflets he was handing out in New Orleans? It's well known, too, that one of his mistresses worked as a topless dancer for a man reputed to part of the Chicago mob in Kansas City on a Thursday.

Mark O said...

This makes my theory of the JFK conspiracy sound rational. Can we call people who believe this "droppers?"

madAsHell said...

Take your name off your phone.

Quayle said...

It was always a game of honor.

You called the penalty on yourself.

But we know that Tiger has yet to learn the value of, or the personal satisfaction and fulfilling fruits from honor.

CEO-MMP said...

Your notion that it benefits everyone to keep him in loses something when you stop and think his new standing (yesterday morning) was something like tied for 17th. That means limited TV time (if any TV time) among other things.

creeley23 said...

Sounds like a reasonable scenario, though unprovable without wheeling out a heavy-duty investigation.

It is a conspiracy theorSounds like a reasonable scenario, though unprovable without wheeling out a heavy-duty investigation.

It is a conspiracy theory and some people dismiss conspiracy theories out of hand, but I think a lot of things in life work that way, when, as Althouse points out, the stakes are high and there is a "concurrence of interests."

People get in trouble with conspiracy theories when the conspiracy keeps getting larger because inconsistencies are explained by further conspiracies. Or when everything is explained by some master conspiracy -- the Jews, the bankers, the Bilderbergers etc.

betamax3000 said...

Tiger Woods' Ball says:

I have been many places. I have seen many things. I have been moved and handled many, many times.

I have been on wet surfaces and on smooth, shorn areas.

As a ball I find all this attention ticklish.

Gabriel Hanna said...

The students I catch cheating use this all the time.

"Why would I cheat when I have so much to lose by getting caught? I'm not that stupid."

Of course they were doing it because they didn't think they'd get caught, and because they knew they wouldn't succeed without cheating.

AllenS said...

"It's not my fault, the dog ate my homework."

"Good answer!"

Hagar said...

This is unworthy of you, Madame.

I think it is also true that Tiger could not see what the camera saw from where he was standing, and it would not have been so "blindingly obvious" to him which rule was applicable.

He had to make a quick decision on the spot and made a wrong one.
However, the Masters' rules committee, which is not exactly an amateur group, could not see the error either, with the benefit of seeing all the camera angles and having a deliberate collegial discussion in the quiet of the clubhouse.

Surfed said...

That the rest of the world was so obsessed with fairness and doing the right thing. But, where's the fun in that?

AllenS said...

Here's a good Tiger Woods story.


pm317 said...

This guy wrote the same thing you wrote.

betamax3000 said...

Tiger Woods' Ball says:

People sometimes want to touch me, hold me, cradle me, just because I am Tiger Woods' Ball.

caplight45 said...

With all that is riding on the Masters: the money, the prestige and endorsements, I would think that the other players wouldn't stand for it if there had been a backroom deal of some sort.

betamax3000 said...

Tiger Woods' Ball says:

I like the putting best. Gentle, gentle putting.

sane_voter said...

I have been confused about this from the moment I heard he was assessed the penalty. If it is a well known rule that if you drop where you took the previous shot, you don't say you didn't drop at the previous shot.

Also it seems common that an official is usually standing nearby when the golfer drops, and often the golfer will ask the official if he is dropping in the correct spot. I only saw Tiger and his caddy in the frame when he dropped. Something is fishy.

betamax3000 said...

No Gatsby, no Kerouac, no Lesbian Hot Dog Stand workers: I am reduced to contemplating Tiger Woods' balls.

lincolntf said...

Anyone remember the text messages that were released as part of his sex scandal? Tiger is not exactly a sophisticated thinker, I think he's really kind of dumb. No conspiracy needed for a brain fart.

creeley23 said...

What about the guy who opened his umbrella just as Tiger dropped the ball?

St George: I assume you're having fun and I get your JFK assassination references. (I wonder how much longer people will -- tt's the fiftieth anniversary of the assassination next November.)

We finally know the story of the Umbrella Man. The umbrella was indeed a signal, though not related to the assassination. The Umbrella Man believed that JFK was appeasing the Communists as Chamberlain appeased Hitler in the thirties. Since Chamberlain often carried an umbrella and it became his trademark in political cartoons, the Dallas Umberlla Man carried an umbrella to the parade route and opened it deliberately three times so JFK would see it and get the message. Appeaser!

It's a cautionary tale for conspiracy theorists. They were right that the Umbrella Man's actions were not random chance. They were wrong that it fit into a larger plan.

Old Dad said...

Let's start with Tiger--he knows that every move he makes on the course is witnessed, and almost certainly filmed. The miniscule advantage that his drop afforded was certainly not worth the scrutiny that he knew he would receive. He just screwed up.

Now did the rules committee tie themselves in knots trying to keep him in? Maybe, but Tiger is blameless in their decision.

Did the rules committee offer him a deal--will you cover our asses if we let you skate? Maybe, but I doubt it.

No doubt, the Masters wanted their star to play, and maybe read the rules in the most favorable light, but that's all the conspiracy I see.

Iconochasm said...

pm317, the issue is which proposed state of mind is more likely to result in Woods saying what he said. Which is more likely, that he was ignorant of the rules of the game, or that he wanted to feign ignorance?

I don't know enough about golf or woods to answer, but pertinent questions that come to mind are: Has Woods ever had a rules fail like that before? Is this an obscure rule, or a well known and commonly enforced one?

We have the evidence of what he said, so the advantage goes to the hypothesis that would have predicted a higher likelihood of Woods openly demonstrating ignorance of the rules.

AllenS said...

Golf Rule 33-7/4
Modifying Penalty for Returning Wrong Score

Golf Rule 34-3/1
We make the rules, because shut up.

AllenS said...

33-7/4

Is the actual rule which kept Woods in the tournament.

Chip S. said...

I've been reading the press coverage in the alternate universe where Tiger was DQ'd by the Old Southern White Males who run Augusta National.

Nasty stuff.

Hagar said...

The rules are clear enough; what Tiger did was misjudge what his situation was, and so applied the wrong rule.

Likewise the rules committee, until someone from the outside called to their attention that they had been discussing the wrong question.

Barry Dauphin said...

One irony of the situation is that the ratings will probably go up a bit as a result of the controversy. Tiger lovers and Tiger haters become even a bit more emotionally involved in the outcome.

toady said...

As Woods was finishing his round during most of the collusion hour alleged by Ann Althouse, we need to review all video of his last three holes to look for discussions with officials, suspicious phone calls , ear buds, whatever. And, we should not neglect the possibility that this business was conducted by Woods caddy or girlfriend.

creeley23 said...

Tiger is not exactly a sophisticated thinker, I think he's really kind of dumb. No conspiracy needed for a brain fart.

Maybe, but golf is seared into Tiger's brain in a way that handling a sex scandal is not.

When the young Tiger was practicing golf, his father would throw pebbles at Tiger trying to break his concentration.

Lincolntf said...

The New York Post didn't even try. Headline: "Tiger Puts Balls In Wrong Place Again". Lame.

Ann Althouse said...

I am applying Occam's Razor. I think my explanation is simpler than the one that relies on Woods not knowing the rules of golf even when he has an hour of off-course time to think about it while consulting with his advisers and with millions of dollars in endorsement money on the line as he works to rebuild his brand that was once "Integrity." To go with the Boswell interpretation, you have to ignore the time that passed, the self-interest that the officials share, the fact that Woods was not alone trying to figure out what to say (he had advisers), and you have to assume he's dumb.

People want to love Woods so much that they are willing — does this ever happen? — to build a theory on the assumption that he's dumb!

O Ritmo Segundo said...

Wow. You actually mentioned "Masters" and a black guy's name in the same breath. This is sure to cause Shouting Thomas to show up and throw a fit.

AllenS said...


Wow. You actually mentioned "Masters" and a black guy's name in the same breath. This is sure to cause O Ritmo Segundo to show up and throw shit.

Lincolntf said...

I don't "love' him. And I do think he's kinda dumb. Lot more proof of that than there is that he's in the middle of a web of conspiracies between television Networks, shadowy advisers, and golf officials. Players screw up and misinterpret rules, it happens. Your argument relies entirely on inferred motives and imaginary (as far as you know) conversations between parties you can't identify. You might be 100% right, but that would only be the result of a 1,000- 1 fluke, none of your reasoning gets you even close.

AllenS said...

Lincoln, yes, players screw up and misinterpret rules, and it does happen. Prior to this instance, others, once they sign their card at the end of the round, and it's found out that they screwed up, have been disqualified. I think that's what's at issue here.

Bob Ellison said...

Assuming stupidity is the simplest, and often most accurate, method of applying Occam's Razor.

John said...

Yawn

I've long been convinced that all professional "sport" is not sport at all but entertainment. I think of athletes as mainly actors. Highly skilled actors perhaps but still just actors.

By "professional" sports I mean any sport where money and TV are involved including the Olympics and Big Time College sports.

So I am not surprised at the corruption that takes place such as Woods being given a pass so as not to hurt the ratings.

What always amazes me is how little of the corruption comes to light.

TV won't do it, generally, since they make a lot of profit from it. If it is corrupt, people won't watch.

Sportswriters won't do it for the same reason.

Newspapers won't do it: Money

Actors/players won't do it or they will find themselves out of a job.

And so on. Too many people make too much money out of this branch of the entertainment industry we call "sports".

And the fans will continue to pretend it doesn't happen because if they didn't, what reason would they have for getting as worked up as they do? You don't see people painting their faces and wearing shirts for their favorite on Dancing with the stars, do you?

So Tiger cheated (maybe) and got a pass.

Big deal.

John Henry

Michael said...

Ritmo and his partner Inga, the two women scientists, are not down with the Masters. You go, girls.

Tom said...

Most major tournaments have rules officials walking with the groups and its very normal for the player to ask the rules official if they are dropping in the correct spot. In some rules there is a two club length standard but in this rule, there is a nearest to the original shot standard. Had a rules official been walking with the group, it would have saved this situation. But Masters doesn't have walking rules officials.

Golf is a game built first off of integrity and then on rules. So breaking a rule requires a penalty. There's nothing wrong with misunderstanding a rule and taking a penalty. But that's not what has happened. Tiger's and now Masters' integrity is in question. Tiger could have easily recovered from this error by withdrawing. The fact that everyone would have spent the two days taking about it would have taken care of the ratings. And just like Roy McAvoy in Tin Cup, he wouldn't win the tourney but his shot (or withdraw) would have been immortal. Oh well, lost opportunities.

I don't think the final conclusion we have is as wrong as it is just not at right as it could have been. And the Game of Golf suffers a little bit for it.

lincolntf said...

Dq'-ing is the last resort. Everybody hates it when a guy loses because his caddie wrote down a four instead of a 3. They try to avoid it whenever possible. This was a strange circumstance, the punishment fit the crime. I don't think he had any intention to cheat, and those are the times rules committees are valuable, and why those ridiculously long rule books get updated to try to head off unnecessary penalties. The rule was new, but not new to this Master's, it's been around for a year or two. Tiger would've been dq'd before then, I'm pretty sure.

AllenS said...

No, caddies don't write down scores. The players do. It is solely the players responsibility to total his score.

O Ritmo Segundo said...

Why the incoherent agitation, Michael? Isn't there a nice day to enjoy in Atlanta? I really couldn't care less about golf. Do to/with this thread as you will.

lincolntf said...

Okay, bad example. A few technicality disqualifications I've heard of involved the player filling it incorrectly but not signing it. Maybe Nick Faldo. If you want an example of a guy who did what you presumably think Tiger should do, Google Jeff Sluman 1996 Bay Hill.

AllenS said...

I don't care one way or another what Tiger does.

William said...

More calamities are caused by stupidity than by cunning. Self interest causes most people to analyze their stupidity in the most benign way possible.

AllenS said...

My concern is solely what the golf officials are doing. Same thing with a football ref who won't make a call on a star football player, or a baseball umpire who won't call a strike on a famous baseball player.

glenn said...

The Golf establishment has prostituted itself to TigerMania since he appeared on the scene. They and the media ignored his behavior and language consistently. Then they ignored the "failings" in his off course life. They didn't do this because he was the stick that stires everybody elses dring. Now that it looks like he's back on top they see no reason too change. And having gotten away with it so far Tiger won't be making any changes. BTW how about some drug tests.

AllenS said...

Lincoln, do you ever bet money on sports? If so, you'll understand why this might be very important to those that do. One aspect of betting is this thing called over/under, and while it might not pertain to the issue at hand, a point here or a point there means everything. If someone is disqualified from playing, it is a very big deal money-wise. Some people are very much invested as to Tiger Woods continuing to play. Bending the rules for him while enriching some, will only hurt others.

Ann Althouse said...

"With all that is riding on the Masters: the money, the prestige and endorsements, I would think that the other players wouldn't stand for it if there had been a backroom deal of some sort."

In a game of honor, how do you accuse anyone of dishonor?

It is very hard for anyone to do this without hurting himself.

Ann Althouse said...

"The Golf establishment has prostituted itself to TigerMania since he appeared on the scene. They and the media ignored his behavior and language consistently. Then they ignored the "failings" in his off course life. They didn't do this because he was the stick that stires everybody elses dring."

A very stiff drink.

Lincolntf said...

Yeah, I occasionally bet. I know what you're saying. I'm saying I don't think he got any special treatment. They didn't re-write the rule for him.

AllenS said...

Good enough. I guess that I'm saying that they didn't enforce another rule because it would have hurt him.

Lincolntf said...

Even in 1998, TV viewers were correcting calls....


1998 NEC World Series of Golf

In the first round, Lee Janzen was another in violation of Rule 16-2, waiting too long for his putt to drop in the hole. On the 17th hole his birdie putt hung on the lip. Janzen walked up to the hole, then past it, bent down to survey the ball, and stared at it. He looked at his fellow competitor Vijay Singh, who also walked up and bent down to see the ball creeping toward the hole. About 20 seconds after Janzen arrived at the ball, he went to tap the ball in but it dropped into the hole. After the round he signed for a birdie 3 instead of a par 4. When the incident was later shown on television, viewers contacted PGA Tour officials, who in screening the tape realized that Janzen violated the Rules and disqualified him. At the time, it wasn�t a big deal, but at the end of the year the disqualifaction did cost him a spot on the Presidents Cup team. He luckily got to play on the squad only because Hal Sutton's father-in-law died, forcing Sutton to withdraw and give his spot to Janzen.

Marshal said...

I think Althouse is testing to see who is susceptible to consiracy theories.

The theory she's pushing requires the active participation of a fair number of people to achieve, all of whom would be out of golf if it ever becomes known. And conspiracies tend to come out over time as the interests of the people in the know change. The Masters might lose its status as a "Major" should it come out. An error might happen at a low level, but an agreement like she suggests would have to go to the top. I have a hard time believing the Masters would take such a short term view. Remember this is a group that cancelled all sponsorships the year of the Martha Burke & the NYT crusade against them. If Woods says no and publicizes the conversation the Masters is finished.

Rules officials might have misinterpreted to the rule to the benefit of their institutional interests. People erroneously convince themselves what is in their interests is in fact correct all the time (Unions and academia specialize in it). But I seriously doubt anyone sat down with Woods and worked out a circumvention plan.

Chip S. said...

I think that Augusta National should invite Roberto DeVicenzo and Bob Goalby to come back for the 18-hole playoff round they'd have had to play to determine the winner of the 1968 Masters if the same ruling about innocent mistakes on scorecards had been made then.

Today is DeVicenzo's 90th birthday, btw. Goalby's only 84, so he'd have a good shot at keeping his green jacket. I figure that any score in double digits would win.

Aridog said...

AllenS said...

Golf Rule 34-3/1 We make the rules, because shut up.

Unquestionably, teh thread winnah!

David said...

Professor, your speculation assumes a complete lack of integrity by the Masters rules committee. I find that doubtful in the extreme.

It also assumes that there is some financial detriment to the tournament or the club if Woods is disqualified. That simply is not true. There is so much demand to be a Masters advertiser that price is almost irrelevant. The current advertisers have been so for decades and have no interest in being replaced. As for finances, recall that a few years ago the Masters dispensed with all advertising, rather than have a spectacle of a boycott of their advertisers over the lack of female members.

The fee has nothing to do with the ratings, which in any event would likely be unaffected by a Woods DQ. The Masters transcends Woods, and is not dependent on his presence. This is not the John Deere Classic.

tim maguire said...

If I were trying to get away with it, my after game response would be something like, "yeah, unbelievable I hit the drink on that shot. But whatta ya gonna do? I was pissed, but I took the penalty, dropped a ball and played on."

If the extensive explanation is a ruse, it's a good one. This "conspiracy" has all the hallmarks of a "conspiracy theory."

But I do't get the scorecard rule. Is there any other professional sport where the competitor keeps his own score? Do golfers keep their own score? or do they sign cards filled out by soneone else?

AllenS said...

Thanks, Aridog.

I was trying to work with the real Golf Rule 33-7/4, which is no different than my Golf Rule 34-3/1.

You don't have to veer too far from an original story, to come up with a good line or two. KISS applicable here.

lincolntf said...

I can't even watch The Masters this afternoon. Going to see a production of Twelve Angry Men ( got roped into it weeks ago). I assume they'll have updated the play to name the suspect Trayvon.

David said...

Note that two of the three members of the tournament rules committee have Wisconsin connections. Both are lawyers. Fred Ridley, who is from Florida, is a partner in Foley & Lardner, Wisconsin's largest law firm. Jim Reinhart is a prominent Milwaukee lawyer who lives in Mequon.

Those lying, cheating cheesehead lawyers, man. Messin' up the world.

tiger said...

After murdering his parents their 40 year old son threw himself on the mercy of the court saying:

'Your Honor! Go easy on me! I'm an orphan!'.

camper thedog said...

Here's what I am still having trouble with. When the CBS guy called the rules committee Friday night with the fact of the improper drop, Tiger would need to be disqualified under the circumstances. Unless a way out could be found. Then, the next morning, we find that "a friend of a rules official" [New York Times article] had allegedly contacted a rules committee member while Tiger was still playing (not a random member of the public), and, because the rules committee allegedly reviewed the incident and found no penalty warranted at that time, Tiger gets to play. When asked for the name of the friend who allegedly called the rules committee, the Masters says it will not release the name or any further information about the call. I hope somebody does a little further investigation to confirm that the committee really did review the drop while Tiger was still playing as claimed. The fact that the call/text came from "a friend of a rules official" seems too convenient to be glossed over so quickly under the circumstances. Especially since the committee's alleged decision was so wrong per the video, and it inexplicably did not discuss the matter with Tiger during the round. Two colossal mistakes you'd think would never happen. If nothing else, showing that the committee truly did review the circumstances during Tiger's round would eliminate the sense some of us have that we are not getting the whole story here.

tiger said...

And this: If Woods is willing to got a serial spree of cheating on his wife - with upwards of 20 different women according to some reports - WHY does anyone think he had an 'honest mistake' especially considering his years as a pro.

I guess he thinks that 'winning does take care of everything' even if he has to cheat to get there.

Lem said...

Think of the motives and think of that 1-hour time gap.

Too bad nobody just so happened to pass by and upon overhearing a discussion, slipped in a recording device, thru a door/air vent gap.

Safe to say some gaps are bigger than others?

David said...

"But I do't get the scorecard rule. Is there any other professional sport where the competitor keeps his own score?"

That's the point. Golf scoring has always been based on the honor of the competitor. In pro tournaments the fellow competitor keeps the card, but marks down the score that the golfer claims. The golfer then reviews the card and signs it.

Golfers have made a huge point of the competitive integrity of the game forever. That's why claims of conspiracy and cheating are such serious accusations. It's not like most sports where getting away with the foul is part of the game.

David said...

Faldo changed his tune completely by last night. Was his self interest involved in doing so? Perhaps, but like many others he had been talking without thinking it through very carefully.

Marshal said...

Ann Althouse said...
"The Golf establishment has prostituted itself to TigerMania since he appeared on the scene. They and the media ignored his behavior and language consistently.


This is not true either. Tiger's disregard for the comportment standards of golf has been covered in the golf press since his arrival on tour. The non-golf press doesn't cover it, but they don't cover others with the same issue (Anthony Kim for example) either.

CEO-MMP said...

Ann the LawProf sez:


People want to love Woods so much that they are willing — does this ever happen? — to build a theory on the assumption that he's dumb!


Occam?

I dislike Tiger (and golf). I've also listened to Tiger talk and I read some of his texts and stuff during the big scandal that was shoved in our faces.

He ain't a smart guy. If he wasn't talented and 'different' he'd be asking "you want fries with that" about 300 times a day.

ndspinelli said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
CEO-MMP said...

AllenS said...

Lincoln, yes, players screw up and misinterpret rules, and it does happen. Prior to this instance, others, once they sign their card at the end of the round, and it's found out that they screwed up, have been disqualified. I think that's what's at issue here.

There's a rule that addresses it, Allen.

CEO-MMP said...

AllenS said...

My concern is solely what the golf officials are doing. Same thing with a football ref who won't make a call on a star football player, or a baseball umpire who won't call a strike on a famous baseball player.


bad examples, that hardly ever happens.

Now, if you wanted to say LeBron and NBA refs...

AllenS said...

CEO, please, when quoting me, use quote marks. You'll find them on your keyboard.

St. George said...

Wait! there's a one-hour gap, and it involves Rosemary Woods!

Oh, it's Tiger Woods.

Nevermind

David said...

I think the professor's underlying mistake is failure to identify the "self interest" correctly. A DQ of Tiger is not against the interests of the Masters tournament. It is neutral financially. And from the self interest of image and reputation engaging in a conspiracy is an absolute disaster for the tournament.

Tiger does have a strong self interest in remaining in the tournament. But he also has an interest in rebuilding and maintaining his worldwide image as a sportsman. With no less than Bill Clinton the international statesman as a role model, it's clear that it can be done.

The final flaw in the Althouse speculation is that Tiger would not have been penalized at all if he had not made the statement she sees as conspiracy. The rules committee had already passed on the matter, and reopened it only based on Tiger's statement. He would have been better off just to shut up and say that he thought he had dropped as close as possible to the place of the prior shot.

And as to the original sin, could Tiger have not known what the rule is? I'm sure if he took time to stop and parse through it, he would have figured it out. These rules are complicated but not impossible. But he did not have the time. He's required by the rules to play promptly, and he was angry at the bad break and under pressure. That's a perfect brew for less than perfect thinking.

Even rules officials mess up the rules on the course sometimes. It's happened quite famously a few times in the Masters, and one example gave Arnold Palmer an advantage that may have won him the tournament. No one said Arnie should have disqualified himself over that.

Chip S. said...

CEO-MMP said...

bad examples, that hardly ever happens.

I'd like to introduce Mariano Rivera's 23"-wide strike zone into evidence.

David said...

" Prior to this instance, others, once they sign their card at the end of the round, and it's found out that they screwed up, have been disqualified. I think that's what's at issue here."

And this was not an admired result. It's why Rule 33 as presently written was adopted two years ago.

Golf rules have always been harsh in their application. Rule 33 was an effort to soften that harshness for touring pros playing for big money on TV.

So perhaps the outrage should be directed at the R&A and USGA for softening the rule book for the money players.

The rules committee in a tournament has discretion under Rule 33. Exercising discretion is a bitch, because someone always will criticize you.

Lincolntf said...

http://www.masters.com/en_US/live/

The Masters has a free, and perfectly clear so far, live podcast going. I have it open in a different window. You can pick from a few holes or watch a select couple of groups. I might have to sneak a device into the theater with me in case the play stinks.

Aridog said...

David asks ...

So perhaps the outrage should be directed at the R&A and USGA ...

Nah, AllenS nailed it with Golf Rule 34-3/1:

We make the rules, because shut up.

Do any of you golfers [ other than AllenS ] realize how absurd your rules sound to lay people who do not golf?

It takes an hour or more to determine something no longer in play, and signed off on incorrectly, then excuse it from disqualification?

Please. We put men on the moon in 1969 and we haven't the technology in 2013 to clarify golf play inside an hour?

Left Bank of the Charles said...

There is a simpler explanation. Tiger dropped his ball in the right spot. Later, he made up a story to explain how he first hit the pin and then hit it within 3 feet, which is pretty good accuracy you have to admit. But his story seemed to suggest he had violated the rules, which in fact he had not. So the committee gave him a penalty to save face.

This case is about the caddy who didn't speak. If Tiger had actually made a bad drop, his caddy should have stepped forward to advise him of the proper location to drop. At that moment, his caddy has every incentive to do that. But the caddy said nothing, because the drop was good.

bpm4532 said...

Augusta National doesn't really care about the money - remember when they went commercial free a few years ago to give a big moutza to the no-women members crowd?

Actually, in spite of how I think Tiger has gotten too big for his britches or the good of the game, the ruling was correct, given the institution of rule 33-7.

Kansas City said...

I love Ann's perspective and creativity. I had not even thought of this. I'm about the read the comments for insight, but my first reaction is too complicated and too smoothly executed to be a scheme. But I agree, it is an additional possible explanation.

Left Bank of the Charles said...

And what kind of bullshit officiating is it to say that one of my friends texted me that one of the players made a bad drop? Officious officiating is what that is. I would imagine there was dissension on the committee when the officious official was overruled, and the he came back all self-righteous with the interview tapes. What do you want to bet the same friend texted his attention to the interview comments too.

rehajm said...

"...and it's in the interest of the Masters to keep him in the tournament for the ratings."

Yah. The parties involved made their decision because of the ratings.

And all attorneys are scum sucking bastards.

SteveR said...

Here's the thing. If the people in charge of the tournament did not disqualify him, he's not disqualified. If you don't like Tiger Woods, the technicalities matter nothing.

rehajm said...

Do any of you golfers [ other than AllenS ] realize how absurd your rules sound to lay people who do not golf?

I've attended a number of the USGA's multi-day seminars on the rules of golf, and considering the USGA spends half a day explaining the when and where you can rake footprints in a bunker, I have no problem realizing this.

Tim said...

deVincenzo was dq'd after signing an incorrect scorecard (It was one stoke too high) in the 1968 Masters that he would have won by one stroke. Incorrect scorecard= dq'd

AReasonableMan said...

God, this is a stupid post, even by the generally low standards of this blog. Once Althouse moves past the Supreme court, ancient low brow hippie culture and a few social issues with which she has personal experience she is basically lost.

AllenS said...

Coverage is about to begin. The tension mounts!

Jay said...

It's this time lapse that made me suspicious. The officials considered the matter, and said there was no violation, except that there was. An entire hour passes

My God, do you have any clue what actually happened here?

In that seedy, suspicious hour Tiger was playing golf.

Duh.

Jay said...

Think of the motives and think of that 1-hour time gap.

That is freakin' hilarious.

I think you should bother with the actual facts, then revise your post accordingly Ann.

Jay said...

Masters officials would not reveal the identity of the texter, but the claim was brought before the Masters rules committee, which decided there was no violation. Then, about an hour later, Woods inadvertently implicated himself,

Since you don't seem to understand this "1 hour gap" let me help you.

Tiger was playing holes 16-18, and signing his score card during that time.

He then went on TV.

I guess he was coming up with those diabolical quotes while doing the golfing.

As noted above, this post is stupid beyond belief.

mccullough said...

I hope Tiger wins.

gadfly said...

Gosh, I somehow missed the black helicopters at the Masters.

What we do know is that golfing officialdom has rabbit-ears. When NCAA officials make bad calls, they do not get all riled up about them - and even with instant replay, many go unchanged.

When football receptions are not receptions, tell me the name of a single receiver who ever ran up to the referee to say, "No, I dropped it."

After the fact golf rulings are horseshit. If the officials on the hole in question miss a violation and the player fails to self report, then the results are official when the putts are all in and the score cards are signed.

I am reminded of so-called sports such as MLB where single executives decide that individual players such as Pete Rose and Shoeless Joe Jackson need to be banned and are ineligible from Hall of Fame recognition, but all others, including the infamous home run steroid freaks were permitted to play out their careers.

AllenS said...

Because, both of us, shut up.

AllenS said...

If I owned some foreign dollar bills, I'd count them, but, otherwise no.

creeley23 said...

Ah, the good old fashioned Appeal to Ridicule Fallacy with a large side of Ad Hominem.

The fact is Althouse offered a scenario which she considers plausible -- no more, no less.

She doesn't claim to have proved it or to know that it is true.

If you find her theory unpersuasive, bully for you, but you can't prove your version either.

I appreciate that Althouse is willing to look behind surfaces. Sometimes a cigar is a cigar and sometimes it is more.

St. George said...

Let's say that Tiger decides to tee off using his new mobile KN-08 intermediate-range Niblick, capable of reaching the par 5 green in Guam. An X-band radar based in Savannah detects the launch, cueing missile defenses aboard the U.S.S. Stetham, an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer equipped with Aegis phased-array radars, fires its SM-3 missiles, which hit and shatter the Polara Ultimate Self-Correcting Two-Piece Ball as it begins its final descent onto the finely manicured Bermuda grass. The successful intercept is immediately touted internationally as a victory, but, now desperate for tactical advantage that will allow it to preserve its nuclear and missile programs, oh, wait, is this not about Korea?

traditionalguy said...

Sorry, but The argument that the Masters telecast needs viewers so it will do anything it can get away with for money is frankly absurd.

For many years it was telecast with no sponsorships.

For the past two years Tiger has been a non-factor in the telecast.

Tiger is a dull player these days.



creeley23 said...

Sorry, but The argument that the Masters telecast needs viewers so it will do anything it can get away with for money is frankly absurd.

No. Unless you have deep, intimate knowledge of how the Masters/television producers assess the worth of Tiger Woods, then that is only your opinion.

AReasonableMan said...

creeley23 said...
The fact is Althouse offered a scenario which she considers plausible


And, therein lies the problem.

traditionalguy said...

Creely...The Masters is its own event put on by the Atlanta golfers who thought it up in 1932 and built a new course by selling memberships.

The Annual invitational tournament has always invited amateurs from all over the world and a few PGA pros too. They all travel to a small town 100 miles East of Atlanta to honor Bobby Jones and they have always come whether the PGA or CBS wanted them to or not.

The Masters guys are not the PGA and they are not any network. They are independent golfers mainly from Atlanta society doing their own thing simply because they value integrity.

creeley23 said...

And, therein lies the problem.

AFallaciousMan: You rarely offer support for claims.

I'm not crazy about everything Althouse writes either, but more often than not she supports her claims, which is more than you can say.

If you disagree with her, take your shot and back it up. But sneering is not an argument.

As far as I'm concerned, you really should be ashamed call yourself "Reasonable" when you comment as a sophist.

Ann Althouse said...

Hagar wrote: "The rules are clear enough; what Tiger did was misjudge what his situation was, and so applied the wrong rule. Likewise the rules committee, until someone from the outside called to their attention that they had been discussing the wrong question."

That's what I thought before I read the NYT article linked in the post. You have the chronology wrong. According to the NYT:

1. "A friend of a rules official saw something on television that looked improper, an illegal drop by Woods after his ball plunked into a pond at the 15th hole. Masters officials would not reveal the identity of the texter, but the claim was brought before the Masters rules committee...

2. Then the rules committee "decided there was no violation."

3. "Then, about an hour later, Woods inadvertently implicated himself, saying that before dropping the ball he had taken two steps back, which was not permitted under the circumstances."

4. Then the rules committee decided that the rule had been violated, but the situation was extraordinary, justifying not disqualifying him for the incorrect scorecard.

You have to make sense of that chronology.

G Joubert said...

Please. We put men on the moon in 1969...

Three words: Van Allen Belt.

Beng Conspiracy Theory Sunday and all.

Ann Althouse said...

"The theory she's pushing requires the active participation of a fair number of people to achieve, all of whom would be out of golf if it ever becomes known."

Maybe only active winks and nods. Or simultaneous light bulbs.

Ann Althouse said...

"But I do't get the scorecard rule. Is there any other professional sport where the competitor keeps his own score?"

Any other sport where the fans are forced to be quiet?

Ann Althouse said...

"She doesn't claim to have proved it or to know that it is true. If you find her theory unpersuasive, bully for you, but you can't prove your version either. I appreciate that Althouse is willing to look behind surfaces."

Thanks. Please note that I am stating the alternative theory because I'm faced with people like Boswell who have a theory founded on the ABSENCE of any alternative theory. The only explanation is X. It seems crazy, they say, that Woods could be this stupid and that he'd incriminate himself, and this rarely used rule would be invoked... but there's NO OTHER explanation.

I'm saying THAT'S lame.

Ann Althouse said...

Marshal said... "Ann Althouse said... 'The Golf establishment has prostituted itself to TigerMania since he appeared on the scene. They and the media ignored his behavior and language consistently.'"

I didn't say that. I quoted Glenn saying that and made a wisecrack.

Ann Althouse said...

David said: "The final flaw in the Althouse speculation is that Tiger would not have been penalized at all if he had not made the statement she sees as conspiracy. The rules committee had already passed on the matter, and reopened it only based on Tiger's statement. He would have been better off just to shut up and say that he thought he had dropped as close as possible to the place of the prior shot."

Reread the post. In the conspiracy theory, you don't say "the rules committee had already passed on the matter." You say the rules committee saw the obvious problem, conveyed a message to the outside world that there was no violation, but conveyed a message to Woods and his people that there was and he needed to make a statement that would provide a basis for calling the situation "extraordinary."

Ann Althouse said...

David said: "... That's a perfect brew for less than perfect thinking. Even rules officials mess up the rules on the course sometimes."

You're just saying why you think Theory #1 could be true. You are not saying why Theory #1 is the only possible theory and Theory #2 can't be true, which is all I am saying.

Left Bank of the Charles said...

The key person whose testimony we have not heard from is the caddy. Part of the caddy's job is to make sure the ball is properly dropped. Another part is making sure the scorecard is correct. And yet no one seems to be blaming the caddy.

The drop was good, but the rules committee imposed an unwarranted penalty to save face, which Tiger accepted in order to avoid an even more unwarranted disqualification. That's why the caddy has remained silent and is not being blamed for this officiating fiasco.

AllenS said...

Over the years, one thing that I've noticed about Tiger Woods is when he misses a putt. He always points at the ground, like he's saying -- "Hey, it's not my fault. There was something wrong with the putting surface."

phx said...

Supposedly, in the 1960 Australian Championship, the great chess Grandmaster, Yuri Averbakh was playing IM Cecil Purdy. Purdy as Black castled queenside. His Rook passed over the b file which was attacked by a piece.

"Averbakh pointed out that Purdy's Rook had crossed an attacked square and therefore castling was illegal. When Purdy proved the rule on this point only applied to the King, Averbakh exclaimed: 'Only the King? Not the Rook?'"

rehajm said...

The Masters guys are not the PGA and they are not any network. They are independent golfers mainly from Atlanta society doing their own thing simply because they value integrity.

Note too, the rules officials involved with this decision are members of the USGA, the governing body of golf in the United States, and the R&A, the governing body of golf for the everyone else.

So in order for Ann's posit to be true, all of these folks who have earned a reputation for fairness and integrity over a lifetime of playing and officiating golf, as well as earning reputations of fairness and ethics in law and other professions, all of these individuals need to be willing to flush that goodwill down the toilet all so CBS can earn a few more Neilson points.

lincolntf said...

I think his "missing hour" is about as suspicious as, say, I don't know....maybe taking a shower and eating a meal after a day of competition Or is it more likely that he was in secret conferences with network and sports officials to make sure his no penalty got turned into a 2 stroke penalty, thus preventing a dq penalty.

Rabel said...

We might need a new theory

lincolntf said...

Tiger has a secret career death wish, and he was afraid if he didn't make up a rules violation he might fuck up and win The Masters. Requires a lot fewer leaps than the conspiracy theory.

Mary said...

You are not saying why Theory #1 is the only possible theory and Theory #2 can't be true, which is all I am saying.

-----
You can try to walk it back now, but clearly you said quite a bit more.

Just sayin'.

Cliff must be retired. Surely you wouldn't be specululating and throwing out such wild accusations if your nephew was still active.

Silly lady.
Your lack of scruples doesn't mean everyone operates as shadily as you....

Phil Beck said...

You should know the rules before concocting a conspiracy. If the Lords of Augusta had actually met with Tiger before he signed his scorecard, and if they knew he had screwed up, all they would have needed to do was to tell him that before he signed his scorecard. Then he could come out and explain that he realized he had made a mistake and asked them to assess a two-shot penalty. When the choice is between stupidity and venality, stupidity is almost always the explanation.

AllenS said...

Mary said...
Silly lady.
Your lack of scruples doesn't mean everyone operates as shadily as you....


Mary, what happened to you? All your comments disappeared. Did you delete them?

The issue is this: it's a double standard. OK? There is an acceptable standard for golfers and another for commenters.

Don't you get it?

Mary said...

Mary, what happened to you? All your comments disappeared.
----

Not so far as I can see... what happened to you though? Yesterday you're spouting your racist crap.

Couldn't you get out in the neighborhood to see who's visiting who ... plenty of snow on the ground now for your 'tracking'...

oh, you're getting it as rain down there south of 8? poor dears. you ought to consider moving up north. less monied racists, more outdoorsmen. you'd keep busy tracking animals, not other guys' girlfriends...

Mary said...

norske nook in rice lake is looking for somebody to scrape their grill...

you looking for work, or ways to keep yourself busy other than playing a white racist online?
bob is too, idnee? you 1950s american white boys, you just don't know what to do with yourselves these days, eh?

lol. enjoy your old age, whiteman. I'll be praying Jesus takes you mercifully when your cancer pain gets to be too great. No really. Jesus loves racists too... hopefully the county will send you a colored caregiver in your final days. Bob too.

Mary said...

He always points at the ground, like he's saying -- "Hey, it's not my fault. There was something wrong with the putting surface."
----

Like annie, you too have a delightfully active cynical imagination...

you two related or something?

Mary said...

You should know the rules before concocting a conspiracy.
------


lol.
she's a law professor and this is going to go right over her pretty blonde head...

gadfly said...

Rabel said...
We might need a new theory.

If this SI side-by-side photo is legit, then there was no rule violation. The ball drop ended up very, very close to the original ball location. So yeah, the conspiracy gets weirder and weirder.

What does Althouse think?

heyboom said...

Fellow tour pro Graham McDowell said it best:

"Take Tiger Woods out of the equation and it was a proper ruling."

Some of you may hate him as a person, but Tiger has been playing and winning at tournament golf since he was five years old. In all that time, he has never been tainted with any suspicion of cheating, except by those who can't fathom the fact that he is so much better than everyone else.

I sincerely doubt that Ann really knows anything about golf or really cares otherwise, except for the opportunity to further denigrate Tiger as a human being. Tiger erred in his personal life, but his record as a golfer is impeccable.

Marshal said...

Great golf. And everyone who has had a chance in the last two hours is worthy.

C Stanley said...

So he knew but didn't know they knew, and then once he knew that they knew too he pretended he didn't know what he did know and said he did what he knew he did because he wouldn't have said he did it if he knew and then we're supposed to know he didn't know because he said it ...except we're too smart for that and so we're onto him?

Basil said...

Whether or not he knew the rule is immaterial. If you break a rule you have to call it on yourself and if you do not call it, even if its because you did not know the rule, your scorecard is wrong and you are DQed. If he had inadvertently hit the wrong ball and finished the round, signed his card and then found outnhenhad played the wrong ball, he is DQed. There was no reason for the Committee to meet before he finished. There was no protest filed. There was no dispute to take to the Committee. The Committee meeting was called to give him cover to allow the DQ to be overruled, the reason being because the Committee has met and cleared him, whenitnhad no reason to meet. Huge cover up which just makes golf like the NBA where the stars get their own set of rules. Have you ever seen Lebron James called for traveling?

betamax3000 said...

My Imaginary Friend was once at a strip club with Tiger Woods. Tiger would put a hundred-dollar bill in a stripper's G-string and then say he was due a Drop closer to the hole.

My Imaginary Friend gets around.

Trashhauler said...

I defy anyone who has just seen their great shot turn into a ricochet off the bottom of the flagstick and go into the water. The brain locks up at the unfairness of it all, setting you up for all kinds of forgetful behavior. And anyone who says, "Well, he's pro and should be above all emotion-driven error" is the kind of wienie nobody wants to play with anyway. He's the kind of geek who will make you putt out from six inches in a Saturday morning dollar Nassau.

Lonetown said...

The point everyone is missing is on the original call of no foul. He dropped his ball within a yard of the original spot and with no other information it was ruled OK or close enough i.e. within a club legnth. You could argue it could be closer but you could argue close enough. The problem is with Woods stating he improved his lie.

Woods should have bowed out.

BTW none of the announcers saw any problem and they are ex golf pros, no?

tim in vermont said...

Haven't read the comments, but my opinion is that, even were it true that it was a brilliant ploy, sometimes conspiracies are so perfect that getting away with them is justice. There are always multiple explanations for any set of facts, choosing the simplest serves us well the vast majority of the time. Occam's razor is not a logical principle, but it is a good rule to live by.

tim in vermont said...

That ball doesn't ricochet off the flag and Tiger wins another Masters. You may not like Tiger, but he is a great golfer. That is like Robinhood losing an archery match because his arrow deflected off the arrow that was already in the bulls-eye, and missed the target.

EMD said...

"Sometimes the black and whiteness is harsh, but Tiger would get massive brownie points"

Nick Faldo is raycess.

mrs. e said...

The problem is with Woods stating he improved his lie.

This.