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What’s Tiger’s story and do we believe it?

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A day after being assessed a two-stroke penalty for hitting a ball which he caused to move, Tiger Woods gutted out a five-under-par 66 in the third round of the BMW Championship. With a birdie on the final hole, Woods moved within four shots of leader Jim Furyk.

Despite his strong play, the penalty still smoldered for the world’s No. 1 golfer on Saturday, however.

“After seeing the video I thought the ball just oscillated,” Woods said about his meeting with rules officials after his second round. “I thought that was the end of story. But they saw otherwise.”

Any examination of whether Tiger’s comments about the rules infraction are believable involves the matter of Woods’ golf ball revolving, or oscillating, which is defined, in part, as “to move in one direction and then back again.”

Woods used the term multiple times in conveying his belief about what happened on the first hole Friday.

“I moved the pine cone right behind my ball,” he said. “I feel like the ball oscillated, and I just left it.”

Rules official Slugger White and company maintained that the ball changed positions, in addition to rotating or oscillating, thus violating rule 18-2. So since Woods didn’t replace the ball to its original position before he played his shot, he incurred a two-shot penalty — an 8 on No. 1 in Round 2 instead of a double-bogey 6.

Do we believe Tiger’s defense, that he thought the ball oscillated but didn’t move? Or is there a possibility that Tiger realized the ball moved, but didn’t think anyone saw it and elected to play on. After all, it took the work of a heads up freelance videographer to catch Woods’ infraction. But there’s no possibility of proving or disproving Woods’ intent.

Watching the video, Woods’ ball clearly moves in some fashion, as can be determined from a couple of reference points. It’s unclear (with respect to the directions in the video) whether the officials felt the ball moved left, right, forward, or back. It’s unclear, too, what Tiger’s understanding of oscillation is.

In the USGA’s Decisions text, the following is presented:

Q. In addressing the ball, a player accidentally causes the ball to oscillate, but it returns to its original position. Has the ball “moved”?

A. No.

For Woods’ ball to not have “moved,” it must have oscillated back into the same position it occupied previously, which it clearly did not.

It seems more plausible that if Woods knowingly tried to cheat, he’d feign surprise when seeing the video, agreeing with the conclusions of the rules officials. Because really, there wasn’t a debate to be had; the officials were merely informing the golfer of their decision and showing how they arrived at their conclusion. But Tiger certainly seemed to believe the story he was telling.

Whether you think Tiger attempted to cheat or that he just didn’t see the movement of the golf ball, one thing is clear. After three sloppy penalties in 2013 — in Abu Dhabi (an incorrect drop that led to a two-stroke penalty), at the Masters (where he was penalized again for taking an incorrect drop) and at the BMW Championship — a little rule book coaching might come in handy in addition to the work he puts into his swing.

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89 Comments

89 Comments

  1. Zeke

    Oct 2, 2013 at 5:39 pm

    I don’t remember Jack being caught trying to “cheat” the rest of the field. One can plainly see that the ball changed position. His eye surgery wasn’t very good if he can’t see it. I can understand not seeing it from above. Tough angle. But on the video, he had to be able to see it.
    Also, if Tiger doesn’t know the most basic rules, he shouldn’t be playing. Tried to get away with it, not once, but twice, it appears. Should have been DQ’d at the Masters. Any other player would have.

  2. RB

    Sep 24, 2013 at 12:59 pm

    I agree with Shankerton. Everyone and his grandma knows this is a penalty and everyone and his grandma knows Tiger tried to cheat and get away with it. End of story.

    • Martin

      Sep 25, 2013 at 8:25 am

      There are numerous examples of players on tour who felt there is a ruling dispute and call the referee in time of evidence. So TW should have done it at the moment of ” oscillation” and not later on. I love to see all golfers be accurate no difference if they got ta,ped on video or not. Pros are experts in ruling.

  3. Eric

    Sep 24, 2013 at 12:48 pm

    Tiger is not close to my favourite golfer, but here’s my take. From his vantage point, he thought the ball oscillated. When he saw the video, he knew the ball moved, but was pissed off and stuck to his story to save face or make a point. If every tour player was scrutinized to the same degree as Tiger, with blown up video from the perfect vantage point, every one of them would be a cheater (most unknowingly), including Jack, Arnold, Trevino, Jones, etc. This said, I have yet to see Tiger call a penalty on himself…

    I’d like to see all video evidence removed from the game, unless it’s a major network. If you ask the tour players of the past who they thought bent the rules the most, you’d see a smile on their face, but they wouldn’t tell you. I think these golfers know when they’ve cheated and I can’t imagine they finshish the round well with it hanging over their head. Eventually everyone gets cought by a peer…

  4. Judd

    Sep 23, 2013 at 7:31 pm

    My experience working with individuals that are punished for wrong doing, when they get loud they are guilty. It just seems to me that Tiger has had several situations this year that reveal he hasn’t really changed.

    If a man will cheat on his wife and children, he will cheat on golf. Media scrutiny isn’t his problem. He makes millions of dollars a year in endorsements because of media attention. He should have been dq’d at the Masters and I imagine the reason he played so poorly this week is the fallout he was getting in the locker room for “oscillation-gate”.

    • Jeannot

      Sep 24, 2013 at 2:16 am

      Sorry. I have cheated on 2 wives, but never at golf, at least intentionally. And I think that many of the rules are ridiculous.
      If there must be rules, keep them simple (e.g., lift, clean and place is always acceptable, or play the ball as it lies with no exceptions – no removing of “loose impediments”). The advantage gained by golfers on the PGA tour as a result of hitting grandstands and spectators or landing on trampled ground are benefits that most of us never get the opportunity to enjoy.

  5. 3sip

    Sep 23, 2013 at 3:32 pm

    we have all hit a shot in the junk and as you stand over your ball you think should I move that cone twig leaf ect to get a better lie our Leave it alone. if you move said branch leaf twig cone ect and the ball moves you get a penalty weather it improves your lie our not. the fact that you try to move a loose impediment and it causes your ball to move you have incurred a penalty stroke. maybe it oscillates but you point out so that you make sure your playing partners know and you don’t get called a cheater or not knowing the rules. ” hey I moved this stick and my ball oscillated.” the fact that he stopped moving the impediment as soon as the ball moves meaned he saw it move. period. ” hey I moved this stick and my ball moved/oscillated” – that’s the gamble with moving stuff near your ball. I’m a horrible golfer according to wrx standards and I know this rule , you tell me tiger does not know this rule better than me

  6. Shankerton

    Sep 23, 2013 at 9:12 am

    Every hack that shoots a 107 on chop Sunday knows thats a penalty, golf 101 ladies. Tiger lovers are hilarious.

  7. Bart

    Sep 18, 2013 at 3:35 pm

    Tony, no it’s not you mate, it’s Johnny Miller, why the network keeps bringing him back with his vast array of stupid and sometimes just plain
    ignorant comments will have to stay a mystery I s’pose, really, is he the best they can do? I don’t think so, time to put out to pasture where he belongs.

  8. Gordon

    Sep 18, 2013 at 2:32 pm

    He did not try to cheat. He did exactly what every honest golfer does. He carefully tested the loose impediment and returned the impediment when the ball began to move. From Tiger’s perspective the ball staying in the original position, when in fact if dropped a tad lower, appearing to oscillate. Sometimes I’m embarrassed by my fellow golfers, so self righteous and hateful.

  9. JDF

    Sep 18, 2013 at 1:38 pm

    This makes me believe that all golfers should hone their skills playing pick-up-sticks.

    Haters are going to hate, and those that like Tiger are going to defend him. No one offering their opinion was there, in Tiger’s exact situation to be able to make the call. Get over it. Worry about you and your own game/antics/ethics. Life goes on.

  10. Steve

    Sep 18, 2013 at 1:13 am

    For what it’s worth, they were asking other players about this and:
    A) Dustin Johnson said he watched the video like 5 times and still didn’t think it moved
    B) A couple (including Stricker and Watney) agreed that it wasn’t fair to have viewers make these calls

  11. James

    Sep 16, 2013 at 5:54 pm

    Some golf rules are a stupid and to expect someone to be able to determine if a ball “moved” is a tough one. He moved something the ball did its thing and he backed off. He would have moved the stick then the ball would have moved…so….. once again some golf rules are stupid…

    1) Hitting out of a divot?
    2) What happen to Justin Rose….dumb

    Just two, but there are plently more.

  12. RCM1301

    Sep 16, 2013 at 2:53 pm

    Once a cheater, always a cheater. Being it in the bedroom with the wife or on the golf course. Tiger is a cheater.

    • erock

      Sep 16, 2013 at 3:58 pm

      I am happy for some that have lead a life without ever having made a mistake. But not everyone has that luxury, and for the rest of us we would like to think that we can apologize and work hard at being a better person and that people will forgive us. Tiger has made a lot of strides towards bettering himself and his relationships. It’s a shame that someone has no other opinion than “once a cheater, always a cheater”.

      • RCM1301

        Sep 17, 2013 at 9:00 am

        Clearly his ‘bettering himself’ didn’t work Friday, beacause, if what you say is true, he would have accepted the mistake, apologize and move on. Instead he tried to defend his action, thereby making it an issue and showing his inherit characteristic as a cheater in all forms of life.

        • erock

          Sep 17, 2013 at 9:31 am

          It’s one thing to admit fault when there is one (i.e. his extracurricular activities while married), it’s an entirely different situation to admit fault when you feel that you have done nothing wrong. There is a distinct difference between humility and weakness. If we know anything about Tiger it’s that he is historically been the most mentally tough golfer to ever play. I think Earl Woods would roll over in his grave if Tiger admited fault when he truly believes he did nothing wrong. That’s not the kind of weakness the son of a Green Beret shows and it sure isn’t how he raised him! Tiger took his medicine, accepted the ruling and ended up having a good showing on the weekend. Not sure what else people expect from him.

  13. erock

    Sep 16, 2013 at 1:19 pm

    What I find interesting about this situation, even more so than Dubai and Augusta, is that he had just a couple of minutes to assess the situation, determine what he perceived to be the correct ruling and continue play. The media/golf fans, however, have had days to watch and re-watch the tape and to be critical of his decision. Had this been any other player in the tournament or any other athlete in the world this would be a non-issue, he would have taken the penalty and moved on if that is what the situation waranted. Sports media has taken such a “guilty until proven innocent” attitude that it is so difficult for someone like Tiger to change the general perception of himself to the casual fan.

  14. Paul

    Sep 16, 2013 at 10:48 am

    How is the game supposed to attract new people with piddly crap like this, an embarrassing waste of time. Most people not into golf already hold a negative view of the game and people who play it (thanks Tiger, as if my girlfriend didn’t already have enough reasons to hate golf), this “infraction” only adds to the skepticism. If you need 10x zoom to see the movement of the ball, i’ll go out on a limb and say that the movement absolutely and unequivocally will not effect your play one way or the other. At least make it a half inch maximum unintentional movement in any direction, something slightly less ridiculous like that. EVERYONE has come up to their ball and accidentally nudged it with their club at address or on a practice swing, and no one can actually believe that it warrants a one or two stroke penalty. Football is constantly updating its rule book to make the game better. Even the most traditional game of all, baseball, has started doing video review. Golf needs more then a few updates to make the game more accessible and enjoyable, something besides the insignificant anchored putter rule change. Thanks PGA and R&A, now my grandpa has to jack-up his 85 year old spine using a conventional putter, and he gets a two stroke penalty every time he taps the ball at addresses with his shaky old hands. GENIUS!

  15. ElwoodBlues

    Sep 16, 2013 at 10:47 am

    I think this says a lot about Tiger Wood’s integrity and his personality in general.
    Do you remember that scene from ‘The Legend of Bagger Vance’? Search for ‘bagger vance penalty stroke’ on Youtube. That is the way I would like to win a tournament.

    • RCM1301

      Sep 16, 2013 at 2:59 pm

      Or even loose it. That’s why old school like Bobby Jones is superior to cheaters like Tiger Woods.

      • ElwoodBlues

        Sep 16, 2013 at 3:46 pm

        Absolutely. If I would win a tournament by not calling a penalty on myself it definitely wouldn’t feel like a win. At least I would now that it was not fair. That is fictional Rannulph Junuh’s argument in ”The Legend of Bagger Vance’. Obviously, Tiger decided that he doesn’t care how he wins. Tiger Woods has been so successful. He needs to win neither the BMW Championship nor the FedEx Cup 2013 to prove that he is one of the best golfers of all time. And with this context he should stand to the rules even more to show true greatness.

  16. Pablo

    Sep 16, 2013 at 10:30 am

    Here’s what I think: Tiger saw the ball move but probably thought it moved back, as he said. If you watch the video though, it rolled to the side AND dipped down, then sort of turned back but obviously didn’t rise back up. It’s not conclusive, but that could almost support Tiger’s account. He wouldn’t notice the ball settling down less than 1/4 of an inch (probably even less than that). So basically this happened because cameras are always on Tiger (even if it’s a freelance ESPN guy) and a zoomed-in camera has a better perspective than the golfer (Tiger in this case) does since the ball moved mostly downward (not as much side-to-side). Is it unfortunate? Yes, but it happened and Tiger couldn’t dispute it. But he moved on (for the most part) and is still in contention tomorrow – so why can’t everyone coming out of the woodworks move on also?

    • Mitch Cumstein

      Sep 18, 2013 at 12:50 pm

      All Tiger had to do after watching the video, was admit it moved and the story is over. Anyone who thinks the ball merely “oscillated” after viewing the video is delusional.

  17. Elin

    Sep 16, 2013 at 10:15 am

    “In no way is Tiger Woods a “cheater”. I strongly disagree.

  18. Payton

    Sep 16, 2013 at 12:32 am

    In no way is Tiger woods a “cheater” he is one of the greatest to play this game if not the greatest. Tiger would never not call a penalty on himself when fit. Most of you are uneducated about the subject and don’t know all the facts/rulings of the situation so don’t be quick to judge. I back Tiger on his opinion.

    • Callyboy79

      Sep 16, 2013 at 8:00 am

      Are there any instances of Tiger actually calling a penalty on himself?

      Also was ther not a questionable drop after hitting into a water hazard a few tournaments ago?

      • Dave

        Sep 16, 2013 at 9:19 am

        Your joking right? Tiger in his career has called a TON of penalties on himself.

        Get out of here unless you know what your talking about.

  19. R

    Sep 15, 2013 at 12:57 pm

    Honestly, I don’t think cheating is entirely a fair word. The ball moving basically a millimeter didn’t seem to give him an advantage at all over the field. Generally speaking, cheating involves gaining a HUGE advantage, and usually comes hand in hand with success. Note that he still got a double bogey on the hole. I don’t think cheating is the right word. If the ball genuinely moved, which it did, would Tiger really not move it back the millimeter forward that it did? It really didn’t make a difference, which is why I think Tiger didn’t “cheat”.

    • Rich

      Sep 15, 2013 at 7:54 pm

      You’re joking right? Cheating means you break the rules. It doesn’t mean you have to be successful by doing it or gain an advantage. It means you break the rules. So how much does the ball have to move for you before it’s deemed to be an advantage? It’s black and white. The ball moved, it’s a rules infraction. It’s pretty simple. I’m with MWP, rules are rules. If you break them, you pay the penalty. If you don’t like it, DON’T PLAY GOLF!

      • Hunterdog

        Sep 15, 2013 at 9:59 pm

        Is it your opinion that every infraction of the rules is “cheating”?

        • Jack

          Sep 16, 2013 at 4:53 am

          rule infractions are not cheating, breaking them and not reporting them is. BTW the standard is so different from other sports. In the NFL or NBA for example, it’s always if you’re not caught, then it’s not breaking the rules. If you’re not cheating, you’re not trying hard enough. In golf, if the ball moves 1mm, and you don’t try to put the ball back, you get penalized. What’s funny is if Tiger had tried to put it back, he would have better his ball position probably and only been docked 1 stroke. Guess it pays to be honest after all!

        • Rich

          Sep 24, 2013 at 6:14 pm

          You’re right. Not all rules infractions constitute cheating. Fair comment. Tiger confirmed he saw the ball move but claimed it was oscillating. That’s just a bunch of hooey. He knew it moved (how could you not!) and was trying to get away with it. Now that’s cheating.

      • Fred

        Sep 18, 2013 at 5:07 pm

        But the ball didn’t move enough to give Tiger an advantage, which was obviously by the video and the resulting shot. He could have left the stick untouched and gotten the same result.

  20. MWP

    Sep 15, 2013 at 12:26 pm

    THE ONLY THING IM LEARNING from this thread is that I wouldn’t want to play golf with about 95% of you people.

    Know the rules, follow the rules, and accept the consequences when you break them.

  21. Barry

    Sep 15, 2013 at 11:18 am

    If he did think the ball oscilated-would 99% of golfers not inform their playing partner or call for a ref?I would inform my playing partners and I’m not playing for 10 million on the pga tour,I’m playing for a 30 euro butcher voucher here in Ireland!I think this brings his honour and integrity into question unfortunatly.I love Tiger-my fave player-but this stinks,he should have asked for a ruling and cleared it up there and then.

    • Jack

      Sep 16, 2013 at 4:50 am

      Tiger’s called plenty of violations on himself. He just didn’t think that was a violation. Yeah, it moved like 1 mm. It was a violation. If I was playing a recreational round I would not have called it on myself LOL. Call my integrity into question. Obviously, he is playing pro tournament golf, in which I would call it. But seriously it’s not like he kicked it out from the trees. And his viewing angle is different from the camera as well. It’s hard to tell how it moved without instant replay, but he got his penalty, play on!

  22. Coy

    Sep 15, 2013 at 9:15 am

    The ball obviously moved but I’m sure in the heat of the moment he didn’t noticed the movement. It did “seem” to oscillate but the movement was very minimal and he just probably didn’t see it. But after seeing the video he should of just admitted the ball moved, and moved on. Still love to watch Tiger but he needs to admit his mistakes.

  23. Kevin

    Sep 15, 2013 at 8:07 am

    He should take a lesson from Bobby Jones. Bobby would see movement and call the penalty on himself. Sportsmanship!

    • Jeff Allen

      Sep 16, 2013 at 12:08 am

      Bobby Jones, 1925 U.S open. Case closed

  24. reqq

    Sep 15, 2013 at 6:34 am

    wonder what the rules say if the ball oscillate and rotates around its own axis? Because didnt the rules official use that black mark to prove the ball moved?

  25. matt

    Sep 15, 2013 at 4:55 am

    I get that the rule states if the ball moves its a penalty. But I also think that the rule was put there to keep golfers from improving their lie, which the ball moving did not do. The ball rolling over a millimeter only being seen by the logo barely moving really cant be classified as lie improvement. I also think that outside cameras should not be able to justify a penalty, I think its up to the players (honesty, not saying tiger didn’t know) and the rules officials. Just my thoughts, but from where the ball was and the way the ball was sitting it would be hard for a player to call a penalty on themselves when they are not sure if the ball actually moved.

  26. David McCuiston

    Sep 15, 2013 at 3:28 am

    I think he probably cheated. Would like to see the video. Though, when your ball moves a millimeter and you have no idea how to even place it back where it was…so that there is really no consequence? Well that is more when addressing the ball…moving a twig and the ball moves that’s hard to get around. I guess you just take the penalty and say it’s basically in the same spot…or call a rules official over.
    He has put too much pressure on himself I think. He used to will putts in, and win like a demigod. I think hubris has destroyed him. Life and golf is trying to teach him humility, but he refuses to learn the lesson.
    He would gain so much in calling a penalty on himself. Seriously, especially if he was in contention, and it was something he might get away with, it would go so far. If it was in a major? He might turn around his reputation. As it is if he pulls out a few majors on his courses, like Pebble Beach and approaches the record as things are now…He is a jerk. Such an opportunity lost! He’s a bit of a lost soul at this point it seems. As a viewer it is much more entertaining to see him struggle and be human…and when he does win, at least everyone isn’t collapsing around him. If he does turn things around great, would like to see him learn from his mistakes. I’m not sure it is in him, though he does show some honesty and humility at times when talking about this golf.

    • Scotty B

      Sep 16, 2013 at 11:41 am

      You haven’t seen the video? So how can you make an informed opinion?? It’s obvious by your comments, that you don’t want to speak to the issue, but would rather foster you own morals views onto Tiger and the rest of us.

      So tired of you select few who obviously never make mistakes in your life and then have to attone for them (sarcasm in case you missed it). Unless you’re a personal friend of Tiger, or in his family, or had your life personally affected by Tiger’s actions; shutup already.

  27. john

    Sep 15, 2013 at 2:32 am

    wow the ball moved a 1/10 of a centimeter, what an advantage that gave him…

    • jtopher

      Sep 15, 2013 at 3:01 am

      Well actually the advantage he gets is moving what’s in the way. if you can’t do that without the ball moving then YES it is an advantage.

      • Dan

        Sep 15, 2013 at 4:20 am

        Well, actually, he didn’t end up moving the twig, so it stayed in the way and he just hit through it. He gained NO advantage from his efforts to move the debris around his ball. Sometimes you can move debris that is touching your ball without the ball moving and sometimes you can’t, but I don’t really see a problem with someone very gently moving the debris, next to their ball, to ascertain if the ball will move or not and the ball shows miniscule signs of movement, but effectively stays in position.
        It appeared to me that he just lightly touched the stick, to ascertain this and noticed some minuscule movement, which he genuinely believed to be ‘oscillation’ and realised that he’d better just leave the stick there.
        We ALL try to gain an advantage in certain situations: Moving stones in bunkers, brushing grass cuttings or sand away on the green, moving any debris next to our ball or on our swing path.
        The ruling has been made and he’s accepted it, in annoyance yes, but he’s accepted it.

    • Dave

      Sep 17, 2013 at 5:07 am

      Where do you suggest we draw the line? 1″ or maybe 1′ ? The rules have lines that have to be drawn somewhere, inevitably there will be a liner. Or a situation that doesn’t seem fair, but that’s the rule. You can’t move your ball, or if you attempt to move an impediment and do so it’s a penalty – fair or not – it’s a known risk. As far as the Justin Rose thing, unfortunate, yes. Require a rule change? NO! Don’t make a practice swing behind your ball, or, if you do DON’T TAKE A DIVOT!! That’s bad etiquette anyway. The rules aren’t unfair, they may seem archaic but personally I think they’re fine (except for not allowing the tapping down of spike marks or moving the ball from a divot in the fairway).

  28. JK

    Sep 15, 2013 at 2:15 am

    it’s sad that we’re talking about this instead of furyk’s 59.

  29. GSark

    Sep 15, 2013 at 1:40 am

    It’s this type of situation that causes me the most embarrassment around my non-golfing friends. When I show up to work on Monday I will once again get the jibs and jabs about how ridiculous the rules can be, but also how fully grown adults can get so wound up and uptight over whether a golf ball “moved” or “oscillated”. Then I’ll have to hear about how Webb Simpson lost the Zurich Classic because the wind made his ball move, and then of course about Dustin Johnson losing the PGA Championship at Whistling Straits because he touched the ground with his club in a fairway bunker.
    I applaud the USGA for changing the rules that cost both Webb and Dustin those tournaments. They were stupid rules, and in each case the two players golf balls were in no better position after the incidents. Neither man was trying to increase his position. In each case the only real violation was to their careers and to intelligence.
    What happened with Tiger was an accident at best, and a whole lot about nothing. I hope it doesn’t cost him the FedEx cup, but if it does maybe then we will re-examine this low brow system that is in place.
    I just saw what happened to Justin Rose…. unreal. While taking a practice a small divot cam up and hit hiss ball, which was at least 15′ in front of him. The ball moved a quarter turn, and he was assessed a penalty. This could cost him a chance at the Fed Ex cup.
    I just don’t think that we should hand out the death penalty for jaywalking.

    • Jack

      Sep 16, 2013 at 4:36 am

      I would never practice swing behind the ball. But then again, I think if it’s not on purpose, he should be able to replace the ball to its original position without penalty, negating any advantage gained (the 1/2″?)

  30. nip

    Sep 15, 2013 at 1:28 am

    plausible? why does tiger get the benefit of the doubt? remember- this is a man-child who was a serial liar to his wife and kids for years. hard for me to believe the ego that fueled that deception doesn’t carry over to his golf game.

    • Hans wimmer

      Sep 15, 2013 at 1:06 pm

      And you know Tiger was a serial liar? You know for a fact that he didn’t have an agreement with his wife and some thing may have changed that agreement? I may not agree with what he did, but that is really none of my business, that is between him and his family. I pay attention to Tiger for his golf. It’s enjoyable to watch. I’m sure you’re the type of person to play strictly by the rules. You must be a barrel of fun to have as a partner.

      • nip

        Sep 15, 2013 at 3:56 pm

        didn’t he apologize for lying to his family during his press conference?

        his transgressions are none of my business either, but that doesn’t exclude me from having opinions about him as a human being and golfer.

        and- when i golf, i don’t keep score 90% of the time. i could care less about strict adherence to the rules of the game.

        but that’s just me…

        • Hunterdog

          Sep 15, 2013 at 9:54 pm

          Then you are not playing golf. You are having, I hope, a nice day in nature.

          • nip

            Sep 15, 2013 at 11:11 pm

            1) That’s a joke.
            2) Thank you, I usually do.

  31. Tony

    Sep 15, 2013 at 12:34 am

    I wonder if the media would scrutinize this so much if it had happened to Phil?

    I for one believe him. Soon he will be the winningest Golfer ever. He doesn’t have to cheat to win. He is just flat out better than any Golfer out there.

    On a side note, is it me or does Johnny Miller really dislike Tiger?

  32. Jason

    Sep 15, 2013 at 12:27 am

    His ball moved!!!!!! It’s a penalty, move on.

  33. naflack

    Sep 15, 2013 at 12:17 am

    When you need a camera with such capabilities to see the infraction it’s understandable how any golfer could miss the movement. It’s nothing I’d lose any sleep over…

    • JDS

      Sep 15, 2013 at 8:28 am

      There is something here that presents a different dynamic…called vantage point. This footage shows the ball moving slightly in a down to the right shift. Camera vantage point , low and head on, can see this. However, the players eye line can be something very different, perhaps it looked as if it turned slight on its axis. Which maybe where the oscillating comes from. Remember the Augusta-gate drop? A photographer analyzed the two images shot from the same vantage point and it showed his drop wasn’t yards away, but rather several inches away. I’d prefer the rules stay “live” with the players and rules officials and not with call-ins or post play video review.

      • naflack

        Sep 15, 2013 at 12:50 pm

        +1

      • Robert

        Sep 20, 2013 at 4:18 pm

        Well said, sir. It’s really unfair to him because I’m sure the other and practically unknown players on the tour have had this happen, but never had a call-in about them because nobody follows their every move with a camera.

  34. Justin

    Sep 15, 2013 at 12:00 am

    It could have moved it could have ocilated, either way this has happened to every golfer that has played competitively. Usually you are so focused on the object that you are trying to move away from your ball that when the ball does move or ocilate you barely catch it moving or it’s obvious. Tiger carries himself with integrity on the golf course, off is another story (fire hydrant) I think he genuinely didn’t think the ball moved, I mean even with the high speed cameras its tough to tell if and how much the ball moved from its original positon and in full speed it doesn’t look like the ball moved from its original position. Golf is hard enough just ask Justin rose who took a practice swing in the fairway! behind the ball, took a divot, divot hits the ball, ball moves. Did he try to move the ball? Absolutely no, but it moved closer to the hole. Tiger in the woods in no way improved his position or lie (debatable- pine cone is tough to hit through) but again if the ball just ocilated, play ball. He made 6, not a hero par save.

  35. Matt

    Sep 14, 2013 at 11:57 pm

    Yeah this is what happens when your every move is watched and recorded. Sometimes it sucks to be Tiger!

    • deerslayer

      Sep 15, 2013 at 12:25 am

      What? Tiger tried to cheat plain and simple. How ANYONE can defend him NOT calling a penalty on himself is just as wrong as Tiger not doing it. This is GOLF. YOU PLAY BY RULES AND ARE EXPECTED TO BE HONEST. It is a disgrace that the worlds #1 player tried to CHEAT. I will never look at him the same way. Once a cheater, ALWAYS a cheater.

      • John

        Sep 15, 2013 at 3:06 am

        If you pay attention to the footage, when tiger touches the stick the ball rotates toward him and when he lets go of the stick the ball rotates slightly back toward its original position. The ball did drop a little bit but there is no way tiger could have noticed such a minuscule change in its elevation. To judge him so quickly and make that conclusion without knowing and understanding all the factors in play says something about your character sir.

        • JB

          Sep 16, 2013 at 2:16 am

          +1

        • Josh Lymon

          Sep 16, 2013 at 5:57 pm

          +1

        • Fred

          Sep 18, 2013 at 4:47 pm

          The view Tiger had of the ball and the view the videographer had were completely different. When was the last time you saw a cameraman get down on his knees and shoot through the bushes to get a shot of Phil, Rory, or Adam clearing brush away from their ball. I’m sure the last thing on the videographer’s mind when he was filming Tiger was the integrity of the game. It’s like Jim Furyk said – “I’d hate to be Tiger.”

        • Robert

          Sep 20, 2013 at 4:13 pm

          John is exactly right. Deerslayer- it’s clear you’re amongst the crowd out to demonize Tiger for his every move. From competitive playing experience at a pretty high-level, if a penalty was called on Tiger in that situation, I should have called a penalty on myself many times. So many times when grounding your club within inches of the ball it’ll oscillate. The human eye doesn’t have the zoom option like a camera does. Just think about it and think about how often you call a penalty on yourself for this. I’d say that nobody on here ever does and it’s likely their balls moves just as Tiger’s did from time to time.

        • Christian

          Sep 27, 2013 at 1:21 am

          +1

      • Dan

        Sep 15, 2013 at 4:25 am

        Wow, a little bit obtuse there.
        Killed one too many deer, perhaps.
        That, sir, is just plain murder.

      • Keydogg

        Sep 15, 2013 at 4:38 am

        Your blatant hate for/jealousy of Tiger shines through your post. It’s pretty obvious he didn’t try to cheat, the world number one doesn’t need to do that when he’s already the best player in the world right now.

        • MWP

          Sep 15, 2013 at 12:24 pm

          and your love for tiger shows in your post…. how can you be so certain that he didn’t TRY to get away with something that he knew was wrong? I’m not saying that’s what happened, but it certainly is possible. Just cuz he is the best player in the world doesn’t mean he is a good person who would call himself out…

          i have no idea how you can say he didn’t try to cheat… are you tigers conscious?

          • Steve

            Sep 17, 2013 at 1:59 pm

            Because it is probably safe to assume he isn’t that stupid. He knows every camera on the course is on him at pretty much all times.

          • Fred

            Sep 18, 2013 at 4:55 pm

            Why cheat when you know it won’t do you any good? Tiger’s attempt to “cheat,” as you put it, got him four or rive feet out of the brush – that’s it. Bobby Jones wouldn’t have done any better. It’s a new week – time to move on to something else.

      • Dave

        Sep 16, 2013 at 9:15 am

        You couldn’t hold tigers jock so just keep your mouth shut…

        Once a murderer, always a murderer you deer slayer. I will never look at you the same way.

      • Andrew

        Sep 16, 2013 at 1:21 pm

        Relax.

      • Johan

        Sep 17, 2013 at 3:00 am

        HAHA, you are just stupid.

    • J

      Sep 15, 2013 at 12:46 pm

      He stopped touching the stick because he saw the ball moved and knew it would move further if he continued moving the stick. I don’t know if he believed it to be a penalty move or not, but he probably should have asked someone just to make sure. You’d think after a similar experience of continuing play without asking at the Masters with the same 2-stroke penalty result, that he would have just checked in with an official to be certain.

      • goaliescott

        Sep 16, 2013 at 2:58 pm

        Agree on this. He started to pick up a stick and the ball moved. He immediately froze and decided not to pick up the stick. He knew the ball moved.
        And yes, it does suck to have that kind of scrutiny…

        • tdbach

          Sep 18, 2013 at 3:30 pm

          The ball moved, but did it change position? It settled slightly, which one could argue is a change in position, but was that apparent to Tiger, looking down? And even after looking at the video one could argue that the downward settling doesn’t constitute a material change in position.

    • Steve

      Sep 15, 2013 at 9:43 pm

      I always wonder how often this happens to other players without anyone making any sort of deal about it. The guy has a camera on him literally every second he’s out there. It sucks, but it all comes with the fame. He took the penalty, moved on, then put up a solid number Saturday to get him back into the fight. End of story

      • Fred

        Sep 18, 2013 at 4:57 pm

        Couldn’t have said it better, Steve. Time to move on.

    • Tony

      Sep 18, 2013 at 8:27 am

      Yeah this is what happens when you are a cheat, sucks to be Tiger.

      He clearly doesn’t know the rules of golf so maybe he also doesn’t know the meaning of the word “oscillate”

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Opinion & Analysis

The Wedge Guy: A discussion of swingweight (Part 1: History)

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Image via Golfworks

For the twenty-five plus years, I’ve been in the equipment business, one of the most commonly-asked-about subjects is that of swingweight. It mostly comes up when a golfer is requesting over-length clubs or is contemplating changing to graphite shafts. So, I’m going to direct a discussion of this topic. Please chime in to let me know your thoughts and input.

The concept of swingweight was developed by custom clubmaker Kenneth Smith about 60 years ago. He was trying to figure out how to “match” clubs, and settled on balance point as a way to do so. His swingweight scale had a “hook” to hold the grip end of the club, and a fulcrum 14 inches from the butt. He created an arbitrary scale of measure that consisted of letters A-F, each letter divided into ten segments, i.e. D1, D2, D3, etc. When he measured the clubs of the day, he found most of them to be in the D2 range, so that became recognized as the “standard” for men’s woods and irons.

The golf club industry quickly adopted this method of “matching” clubs…well, because they had no other way! Because the longer the shaft, the heavier the head feels, clubheads increase in weight as the shaft gets shorter, so that the swingweight will stay the same. The theory then, and now, is that if the swingweight is the same, the clubs will feel essentially the same in the golfer’s hands.

But let’s look at what has happened since Kenneth Smith invented the swingweight scale.

  • Shafts have gotten longer by at least an inch. In the 1940s, a “standard” driver was only 42-43” long – now most are 45” if not more.
  • Shafts have gotten much lighter. Those old steel shafts weighed 150 grams or more, compared to modern graphite driver shafts in the 55-75 gram range.
  • Golfers have gotten stronger while clubs have gotten much lighter overall, but swingweights have always adhered to that D2 “standard.”

You must understand two very important factors about swingweight.

First, a “point” of swingweight–such as D2 to D3–is NOT a unit of measure like an ounce or gram. It takes much less weight to shift a driver one point, for example, than it does a wedge, because the shaft length is such an influence on this measure. Generally, the weight of a single dollar bill is a swingweight point on a driver—not much, huh?

And secondly, the overall weight of the club is at least as important as swingweight. Jack Nicklaus was noted for playing a driver in his prime that was 13.25 oz in overall weight–very heavy even for that time (most are about 10.5 oz now!), while his swingweight was only C9, considered very light. S

Swingweight by itself is a rather worthless piece of information!

So, that should get this discussion going. I’ll give you a few days to toss out your questions and comments on this subject, and then I’ll begin to address my own theories on swingweight for YOUR clubs.

Sound off, readers!

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Podcasts

TG2: Review of the new ShotScope V3 GPS & shot tracking watch, Vessel VLX Stand Bag!

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I get the new ShotScope V3 GPS and shot tracking watch on my wrist for a few rounds and love the data. ShotScope V3 offers accurate GPS distances while seamlessly tracking your club data.

Vessel Bag’s new VLX stand bag is a high end, lightweight, luxury bag for golfers who love to walk. Walking with the VLX was actually more comfortable than my pushcart!

Check out the full podcast on SoundCloud below, or click here to listen on iTunes or here to listen on Spotify.

Want more GolfWRX Radio? Check out our other shows (and the full archives for this show) below. 

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Golf's Perfect Imperfections

Golf’s Perfect Imperfections: How to never miss another putt

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Learn how your own anatomy is designed to roll the golf ball in the direction you want to start the putt without any interference or assistance on your behalf.

All you need is a system of predictions that will help you confirm that your putting stroke is pointed in the right direction. This is how you become a witness to gravity sinking the putt for you. This will become clear after you listen to the podcast and give this a try at a golf course near you!

Check out the full podcast on SoundCloud below, or click here to listen on iTunes or here to listen on Spotify.

Want more GolfWRX Radio? Check out our other shows (and the full archives for this show) below. 

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