PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. (Swing Update) – Tiger Woods could have avoided water on his second attempt at the green Island 17 under the new rules of golf.
Instead, he rapped a second shot in the water and made a quadruple bogey.
This raises again the semantic question that arises since the Players Championship was organized on the TPC Sawgrass: the notorious green island is really an island?
Woods touched his pitcher's corner at a back hairpin that was a little to the left and a bit long. He came out of the green and started to go down the passage when he fallen on the wooden frame and in the water.
As a general rule, players knock again from the T-shirt or go to the drop zone about 90 meters away. Woods did the last one. This shot was too loud and jumped from a person on the green and in the water. It was the first time Woods hit two balls in the water at the 17th hole and that led to a quadruple bogey. He had nine balls at the end of the week.
But according to the new rules that allow a fall of a club length on a yellow hazard – and based on where his first shot went into the water – Woods could have dropped on the sidewalk grass at about thirty meters and have a right token, or even a putt, to the spit for the par. Chances are the worst that he would have done was bogey.
Woods said Saturday that he did not know that his ball had caught a piece of the bridge.
"I thought that he had crossed the green and jumped over his back and that was it: go straight to the drop zone," he said after a 72 that included a birdie on the 17th, an improvement of five strokes. "Unfortunately, I just did not know where the ball was crossed."
Questions were asked about social media and Golf Channel's team of analysts – David Duval, Brandel Chamblee and Frank Nobilo – returned to the scene Friday night to review the option.
Because players can now use a club length for the fall involving a yellow hurdle, Woods could have taken advantage of it. Instead of going into the drop zone, he could have dropped on the driveway.
"It was interesting," said Duval Saturday morning. "I texted Tiger last night. He did not know. I think in the future they should have an observer out there to inform the guys. Because the assumption is that you have to go to the deposit area. The rules are there to protect the whole field. "
Woods agreed, adding that he was aware of the new rule for a yellow hazard.
"If we had a marshal up there to tell us that's where he had crossed, I would have had that opportunity," he said. "But I did not know."
Previously, with a yellow hurdle, players had the opportunity to determine where the ball entered the hazard, to keep a direct line between that point and the pin and to return in a straight line as far as they wished.
In this case, there would be no place to stand because the footbridge is right next to the water.
Under the new yellow hazard rules, the clearance zone corresponds to a club length in any direction no closer to the hole (two club lengths for a red hazard side drop). This means that Woods could have indicated where his ball was crossing the yellow line, moved it from a club to the right (away from the wooden frame) and had a token or a putt.
Li Haotong hit a similar shot on Friday, went to the drop zone, reached 20 feet and doubled for a double bogey. Li missed the cup in one go.
At the 17th hole, the option probably comes into play with a back pin. Duval thinks having an observer out there will allow players to know what's possible. That said, it's still up to the player to understand what the rules allow.
Jordan Spieth had a similar incident at the fourth hole on Friday when his ball fell into the water. Instead of getting closer to the green – for a shot over the water, it was not as discouraging as the 17th – he called an official and was able to come back in a straight line behind the green and hit a shot on the flop. 6 feet to escape with bogey.
So is it an island?
"It's not now," said Duval laughing.
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