AUGUSTA, Ga. — Rules officials from golf organizations around the world work at the Masters, most of them assigned various parts of the golf course. But it remains the only major championship that doesn’t have a rules official walk with every group.
Even more peculiar is that the Masters has the smallest field. With only 93 players this year, there were only 31 groups all four days — threesomes Thursday and Friday, and twosomes Saturday and Sunday for the 61 players who made the cut.
Could that change in light of the ruling involving Tiger Woods?
He took an incorrect drop on the 15th hole after hitting into the water in the second round.
Fred Ridley, chairman of the competition committees, responded to a TV viewer calling in the violation and didn’t immediately recognize the mistake based on video evidence. It was only after Woods said in an interview he dropped it 2 yards farther back did Ridley review the tape again. Woods was given a two-shot penalty, but not disqualified. Ridley invoked Rule 33-7, which gives the committee discretion not to disqualify.
In this case, he felt Augusta erred by not presenting the evidence to Woods before he signed his card.
Ridley would not say if the Masters would have officials with each group next year. That likely would be up to Masters chairman Billy Payne.
“If there’s one thing about the Masters tournament ... we look at everything,” Ridley said. “And do that with the competition, so we’ll be looking at this situation. What could we do in the future? Is there any different processes we could employ? We look at the entire competition every year and try to get better.”