Tiger's Masters Drop-Shot
I think Tiger broke the rules the way he handled his replacement shot. He clearly dropped the ball where HE wanted it to lie, and as he admitted later, he did so because he "needed a couple of yards."
I have to say that I think he should have disqualified himself, and that another golfer probably would have.
The actuality of the rule and the spirit of the game dictated that Tiger do it right—and he didn't. I think the Masters committee wimped out when they let Tiger submit his scorecard and then penalized him later, using the sequence of events as an excuse not to throw the book at him and DQ him. This way, they feel "better" about the slap on the wrist and their big media draw gets to keep playing.
I still don't understand why tourney officials aren't readily on site—out on the course—to steer players through the rules appropriately. Or are they, and Tiger didn't want to deal with one? But when they are not there, then the self-policing issue comes into play.
As for people calling in from TV-Land, that seems totally inappropriate. The Masters officials should be watching everything, but of course they do not watch everybody, especially guys out of contention.
The evidence is clear. Given his choice to re-hit the original shot—there were other options available—Tiger gave himself an advantage by dropping the ball intentionally further back, to accommodate the shot HE wanted to make. No one gets that benefit on tour. Play it as it lays, and drop it according to the rules.
Unfortunately, this just makes me think that Tiger's arrogance allows him to get his way (officials intimidated?)—and he clearly does not have the integrity to stand up and do the right thing.
To me, it looks bad, and it makes Tiger look selfish and entitled.
Methinks the game just got a little smaller.