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Tiger Woods gets a reprieve in the Masters

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"There’s not a day that goes by that there are not some things I wish I would have done differently," Ridley said.

That it involved Woods only made it a bigger issue.

At a glance

Golf fan spots Woods’ violation, prompts review

Golf is the only sport where TV viewers act as rules officials. If a fan sees a violation and it turns out to be true, a player must be penalized. How replay comes into play in other sports and who can invoke it:

Football » Officials can use video evidence to decide certain plays when coaches (not fans) challenge them. A replay official automatically reviews turnovers, scoring plays and some other loose-ball situations and can request the on-field officials review evidence.

Baseball » Umpires use judgment for all calls, but can use video on home runs to determine whether the ball fair or foul, or if it cleared the fence.

Basketball » Referees can check courtside monitors to determine if a basket was a 3-pointer or not, but no calls may be directly influenced by fans.

Hockey » NHL officials monitor games and initiate replays from a “war room” in Toronto to determine if a goal has been scored or not. There is no outside mechanism for a TV crew or viewer to alert someone of a rules violation.

Sources: NBA, MLB, NHL officials; NFL.com, NHL.com

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"Take the fact that it was Tiger out of the equation and it is a fair ruling. Since it is him the debate begins about TV ratings etc etc," former U.S. Open champion Graeme McDowell said on Twitter.

In one of his more famous incidents, Woods hit a shot that went onto the roof and over the back into a parking lot at Firestone. The ball was never found, and because there was no out-of-bounds, Woods was correctly given a free drop by the practice range. Last year at Quail Hollow, he hit a shot left of the fifth green that was never found. He was allowed a free drop because fans said a man picked it up and ran off.

"There is some leeway with the signing the incorrect card. Not with intentionally not dropping as near as possible," David Duval said on Twitter.

The revision to Rule 33 was based upon the modern era of television. One example cited was Padraig Harrington, who opened with a 65 in Abu Dhabi at the start of the 2011 season. He was disqualified when a slow-motion replay on high-definition TV revealed that his ball moved ever so slightly after he replaced his marked. Harrington didn’t realize it had moved — a two-shot penalty — and was disqualified for an incorrect card.

That same year, Camilo Villegas was disqualified in Hawaii when a TV viewer noticed he tamped down a divot in an area where his chip was rolling back down a slope. Rule 33 would not have applied there because Villegas did not know the rule.

Woods started the year with a rules violation. He took relief from an imbedded lie in a sandy area covered with vines in Abu Dhabi. It was determined that relief was not allowed in the sand. He was docked two shots before signing his card, and it caused him to miss the cut.

This is not the first time Augusta National had to review an incident involving Woods. In the opening round of 2005, he leaned over to tap in for par on the 14th hole and it appeared his right foot was behind the line of his putt — a violation of Rule 16-1e that a player’s foot cannot touch an extended line behind his ball. Officials deemed the tape inconclusive. Woods went on to the win the Masters.

Woods gets more air time than any other player.

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"It is a very uneven playing field out there," said Curtis Strange, a two-time U.S. Open champion and analyst for ESPN. "We do have the call-ins. Tiger broke the rules yesterday. It gave him a two-stroke penalty. I think that’s enough."

Reporters were kept away from the front of the clubhouse when Woods arrived alone in a black SUV. He changed shoes and headed to the practice range.

Hunter Mahan summed up the mess on Twitter: "If you think tiger should be dq’d your not wrong, if you think 2 shot penalty is enough your not wrong. Not sure the right answer."

Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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