NEW: Woods says the punishment was fair, adding, "I made a mistake"
Woods says he didn't mean to break any rules
Official says Woods was "forthright' during meeting Saturday meeting
The trouble started when his shot hit the flag stick and bounced into the water
Tiger Woods was penalized two strokes Saturday after a rules committee deemed he violated one of golf’s ball-drop rules during Friday’s play, an official with the Masters Tournament said.
“I didn’t know I had taken an incorrect drop prior to signing my scorecard,” Woods said in a four-part tweet on Saturday. “I understand and accept the penalty and respect the Committees’ decision.”
On Friday, Woods, a four-time tournament champion, hit a shot on the 15th hole that ricocheted off the flagstick and bounced into a pond. Woods took a drop then bogeyed the hole.
“After being prompted by a television viewer, the Rules Committee reviewed a video of the shot (after the drop) while he was playing the 18th hole,” Fred Ridley, the Augusta National Golf Club’s competition committee chairman, said in a written statement.
At that time the committee determined Woods hadn’t broken any rules, but later met with Woods after he described on television where he stood to drop the ball. Woods told reporters he stood “two yards” behind the spot of his errant shot before the drop. Television replays suggested he was a little closer.
“So I went back to where I played it from, but I went two yards further back and I took, tried to take two yards off the shot of what I felt I hit,” Woods told reporters Friday.
The rule gives three options for making a drop, one of which is to do so as “nearly as possible” to the site of the original shot.
Masters officials spoke with Woods early Saturday morning, Ridley said at a news conference. Woods was “very forthright” and “honest,” Ridley said, and it was his best judgment that Woods intended to comply with the rules. The officials watched replays of the shots with Woods, Ridley said.
The committee didn’t disqualify Woods for signing an improper scorecard because it made its “initial determination prior to the finish of the player’s round.”
Woods finished Saturday’s round at 3-under par, four strokes off the lead.
After walking off the course, he told CBS – which is broadcasting the event – that he feels the punishment is fair.
“I made a mistake,” Woods said. “Under the rules of golf, I made an improper drop.”
CNN’s Rachel Nichols reported from Augusta, and Steve Almasy wrote in Atlanta. CNN’s Greg Botelho and Dan Moriarity contributed to this report.