While Tiger Woods wasn’t aware he had made an illegal drop on the 15th hole during the second round of the Masters, a bunch of high school golfers in New York City spotted his mistake.
Catholic High School Athletic Association golf coaches make sure the members of their teams know the USGA rules. Bill Niklaus, head coach of the Archbishop Molloy boys golf team and the CHSAA golf chairman, had several of his players ask him the Monday following the Masters why Woods wasn’t penalized on the course, according to the New York Daily News.
Niklaus said the boys even asked if it was “favoritism.” Even middle-school golfers know the rules better than Woods, a fourteen-time major champion, he explained:
“We tell the kids in eighth grade: When you come into high school, we don’t have time to teach you (the rules). You have to know the basics. When you come in, it is full USGA rules, plus the local rules in CHSAA. When you put it all together, we’re bound by (many) rules. I’ve had kids call rules that average golfers would go, ‘Huh?’ But it’s real. They’re not just learning the basics. They have to play real golf.”
In fact, Tiger is lucky these high school golfers weren’t the ones calling the shots at Augusta National.
“If we didn’t know the rules, we shouldn’t be out here in the first place, to be honest,” St. Francis Prep junior Jacob Virginia told the NYDN. “Tiger, he just messed up the rule.”
Teammate Brian McGowan, who said he knew the proper protocol for making a drop in the scenario Tiger encountered on the 15th last Friday at the Masters. McGowan added, “In that situation, you have to play the ball from where it was. You can’t go as far as he did away from the spot.”
He also said in that situation he would “place the ball as close as you can, and check with all your peers to make sure it’s okay.” (*After first attempting to drop it twice, of course.)
Perhaps these high school golfers should give Tiger a rules clinic.
(AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)