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Nicklaus: Ruling correct on Woods at Augusta
However, he’s not so sure he agrees with the slow-play penalty given to 14-year-old Chinese phenom Guan Tianlang.
Woods‘ third shot on the par-5 15th in the second round hit the flagstick and ricocheted back into the water. He took his drop from 2 yards farther back _ contrary to the rules _ from the spot where he hit originally, and ended up making a 6. Tournament officials later said he deserved a two-stroke penalty for the violation, but not disqualification.
“Could they have disqualified him? Probably,” Nicklaus said Wednesday at a luncheon celebrating his support and that of his Memorial Tournament for Nationwide Children’s Hospital. “But you’ve got all the best rules heads together and they said that they thought there was no intent to do anything (improper) and that two strokes was a strong enough penalty. And you move on.”
Nicklaus, a winner of 18 major professional championships to Woods‘ 14, spoke on a variety of golf-related topics from anchored putters to renovations at Muirfield Village, which hosts his Memorial Tournament next month and also the Presidents Cup in October.
“People say, `Should Tiger have withdrawn himself?’ I don’t think so at all,” Nicklaus said. “If Tiger did that, he’d be putting himself in a position of saying, `I’m above the rules.’ You accept the ruling whether it’s good or bad for you.”
The 73-year-old Nicklaus wasn’t so certain about the one-stroke penalty given to Guan for slow play during the second round at Augusta National.
He added, “There’s hundreds of guys who are much slower probably than (he was) and they figure out a way to get away with it.”
Nicklaus said he undoubtedly spent too much time over many, many putts over the years.
Guan accepted the penalty without complaint.
Of Guan, Furyk said, “He handled it better than most of us would.”
On Wednesday during pro-am day at the Zurich Classic in New Orleans _ where Guan will be playing again this weekend _ 2012 Masters champ Bubba Watson said perhaps more penalties need to be handed out for slow play on tour.
By Tammy Bruce
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