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Column: Woods plays a get-out-of-jail-free card
Except it’s not.
You’d have to be the viewer who made that first call to care about _ let alone follow _ all the twists and turns. All you really need to know is that Woods could have handed back the get-out-of-jail-almost-for-free card that Masters officials put on the table, and picked up more goodwill than Betty White.
But these days, the only thing worse than being a loser is a sap, and Woods was completely within his rights to take advantage of every break that goes his way. He finishes off an even-par 70 round late Saturday afternoon and says afterward, “If it was done a year or two ago, whatever, I wouldn’t have the opportunity to play. But the rules have changed, and under the rules of golf, I was able to play.”
Which brings us back to the green jackets.
Anyone have the feeling that if the golfer under investigation was, say, Vijay Singh, the first official review of the drop would have gone differently? Just a day earlier, saying “rules are rules,” those same officials slapped 14-year-old Chinese sensation Guan Tianlang with a slow-play penalty, even though there was no evidence that his indecisiveness over which club to hit was actually slowing down play.
But their ruling in Woods‘ case unravels so quickly that if it had been a thread on one of their green jackets, that same guy would be walking around in shirt sleeves. Then maybe we’d see some more transparency around the joint.
“There’s not a day that goes by that there are not some things I wish I would have done differently,” he said.
Since there in such a generous mood, maybe this current group of officials would go back and right one of the game’s _ and the club’s _ most egregious mistakes.
Forty-five years ago, Roberto de Vicenzo signed an incorrect scorecard on the final day _ playing partner Tommy Aaron wrongly entered a 4 instead of 3 at the 17th hole _ and under the rules, the higher score stood. As a result, de Vicenzo wound up a shot behind winner Bob Goalby instead of meeting him in an 18-hole playoff the next day.
He took full blame and what de Vicenzo said afterward _ “What a stupid I am!” _ has echoed through the decades for its poignancy.
Considering the way things have gone for the last two days, that’s a lot more accurate than “A Tradition Like No Other.”
Jim Litke is a national sports columnist for The Associated Press. Write to him at jlitke(at)ap.org and follow him at Twitter.com/JimLitke.
By Tammy Bruce
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