Light rays disappear into a black hole, and those just skirting it's edges get bent and distorted. They also produce duplicate images on both sides of the black hole, almost like a funhouse mirror.
Tiger Woods is the black hole of his sport.
Everything gets bent in his orbit.
Announcers and their sense of professionalism. Sponsors and their sense of dignity. Commissioners and their concept of equality.
And now the rules. Again. Like the half ton boulder in Arizona that was rolled aside for Tiger by a half dozen volunteers looking to get on SportsCenter.
So let's cut right to the chase.
Tiger clearly admitted to a basic rule violation when he said he dropped the ball "2 yards" further back to avoid a repeat of his unfortunate pin-rattle. (gee, cocky much?)
Additionally, there's clear video evidence showing he did NOT drop the ball "as near as possible" to the previous shot, as was his chosen option.
So nobody is questioning the 2 shots penalty. Nobody.
It's the timing. It's the cover up. It's the bullshit all around that we need to wade through.
So I have questions...
1. Besides Fred Ridley, who on "the committee" actually saw the initial drop and then looked at it again on tape after the round and decided it was a legal drop? Because it was not. Once you see the tape, it's plain. This was a stone cold SHANK by "the commmittee" - whomever that is. Stand up and be accountable.
2. Even if you *think* the drop was kosher, why did you choose not to bring it up to Tiger - just to be sure and hear his thinking on it - either during his round, or before signing his card? This is standard protocol at golf tournaments, especially majors and on tour. You know, a little "Hey.. we MIGHT have a problem... tell me about that drop on #15." Happens all the time. Except this time. Whoops. Why?
3. Is Tiger Woods saying that he did not know the rule regarding drop options on a water hazard? Because if that's the case, I'm rather shocked. He's played way too much golf to not know that.
4. Has Tiger ever called a penalty on himself as a professional? Anywhere? For anything?
So now I have to assemble a likely "narrative" on the whole thing (minus many key questions left unasked) and I must key in central conundrum: 'What did Tiger know, and when did he know it?"
Tiger says he didn't know/think anything funny about his drop until the Rules Committee called him late on Friday night. This would seem to be backed up by him shooting his big dumb mouth off about how smart he was to drop it "2 yards back" on the follow up shot.
Now if Tiger had a feeling that drop might have been wrong, but was waiting to hear about it from a greenjacket either before the 18th or before he signed his card - and then, seeing that nobody had a problem with nuthin' - decided to go home for a hot shower and television - then he's a cheater. Stone. Cold. Cheater.
Is he? I don't know.
I don't think I'll ever know that answer, because the assembled media did SUCH a shitty job asking him questions in the limited chances they had at him, it was a joke. The two biggest Tiger "client" reporters (Tom Rinaldi of ESPN and Steve Sands of the Golf Channel) effectively tag-teamed to hog the quick "group avail" and mostly ran out the clock.
I was screaming at my TV when bullshit non-question-questions like "describe your emotions walking to the first tee today" were asked.
Bill Macatee was as useless as you would expect for a guy who does maybe 6 NFL games a year, and then pops up at Augusta to roam the Butler Cabin. Think he was going to risk that cushy gig going all "Mike Wallace" on Tiger? Right.
And you can be damn sure that Tiger Woods IS... NEVER... FUCKING... TALKING... ABOUT... THIS... RULING... AGAIN.
So the chance to really pin him down is gone. Gone, gone, gone.
I'd love to pin him down with questions like.... "Did you and Joe Lacava discuss the drop? Why did you so adeptly sort through your options (drop zone, line of play, etc.) and then forget that "same spot" means SAME FUCKING SPOT, not 2 yards back, 3 yards left, or sitting up like a wedding dick on a nearby tuft of grass?"
I do believe one thing: the Augusta rules committee got lit up with snitches right away on that drop by not just astute viewers on television but by somebody on the grounds. Again, this was not a microscopic wobble of a ProV1 in HD on a bunker slope. This was a WRONG DROP!
And the Greenjackets on that committee were very much afraid of Tiger and had NO INTENTION of piling on his bad break on #15 with a penalty. I guarantee you they would have rather volunteered to wash Martha Burk's underarms with a loofa than be the guy who got the short straw and had to tell Tiger to pencil in an 8 on that hole.
Those rules cowards were going to happily let this thing sail away into the Augusta night, to die a slow pitiful death as a harmless theoretical exercise for golf blogging nerds.
Then big shot opened his mouth about the "2 yards."
And suddenly... "Houston.. we have a problem."
So at that point, The Rules Committee had to fabricate a convoluted timeline that was 50% truth, 30% fiction, and 20% barbwire and mud.
And because The Committee was actively trying to look the other way so Mr. TV Needle Mover didn't miss the weekend, it had to come up with it's tortured final ruling, and fall back on the ol' Committee has final "discretion" not to DQ a player if "special circumstances" are involved. (Rule 33-7. Look it up. Have fun.)
It was like the goddamn John Roberts ruling on Obamacare all over again!
So again, did Tiger really not KNOW the rule? Or did he FORGET the rule? Or did he CONFUSE the rule? I think he KNEW it, but forgot. So the only thing left is WHEN did he TRULY realize: "Oh fuck... I made a mistake."
If the answer is: only AFTER getting a call that night, then he's not a cheater. And that's his story. We'll just never know.
Now... to the other question: "should he have DQ'd himself?"
Easy. Answer: "of course."
Because at that point, the entire reason for winning tournament was lost. The asterisk was all ready to be hung. And it would never, ever, ever go away. "Here's Tiger, Mr. 19* Major Wins!" Boo.
If this were any other player, I would have said: "Shit, good break. They let you slide. Tee it up. I hear the money is good if you finish top-10."
But he's not any other player.
Playing the weekend was not worth it, on any level.
Bowing out would have earned Tiger a rare chance to surprise people who follow golf. So far, he's got 14 majors and 73 tour wins, but he's 0-for-his-career on making anybody say: "Wow, I didn't think he had THAT in him. Hmm. Good for Tiger."
Meanwhile, light and truth in golf, bends around Tiger Woods like a voracious black hole.