Tiger Woods' pursuit of a fifth Masters title took a turn for the worst on Saturday morning when he was assessed a two-stoke penalty for an illegal drop on the 15th hole during the second round at Augusta National on Friday.
According to multiple reports (this one via ESPN's Bob Harig), the future of Woods' weekend was in doubt after it was announced that he could potentially be disqualified for the illegal drop, but officials ultimately ruled it a two-stroke drop for the 37-year-old Woods.
Woods had originally bogeyed the 15th hole on Friday for a six on the hole, but after officials reviewed the drop and deemed it illegal, Woods was given a triple-bogey eight.
Sporting News has the shot of Woods' drop via Twitter:
Sporting News @sportingnews
Oops: Here's a photo of Tiger Woods taking the drop that could've disqualified him. http://t.co/AxouVT4M8f4/13/2013, 3:03:19 PM
Because of the two-stroke penalty, Woods now enters Saturday five strokes off the lead instead of a one-under-par 71 and has a steep slope to climb in order to win his first Masters tournament since 2005.
Standing in Woods' way is Jason Day, who leads the field entering Round 3 at six under following a 68 on Friday that saw him birdie six holes, including four on the back nine.
Behind Day, Fred Couples and Marc Leishman both enter Saturday at five under, after each posting sub-70 scores in the first round. Couples has been consistent, shooting at least five birdies in both of his rounds so far throughout the 2013 Masters.
While it's not necessarily impossible for Woods to make up the penalty, it's going to be extremely difficult. He wasn't playing his best golf to begin with, but he did appear to be on his way to contention on Sunday after three birdies in his second round.
Realistically, Woods needs to shoot near a 66 on Saturday just to be in contention for Sunday. While I wouldn't put it past him to shoot four-under on the day, it's less than likely to happen.
As most of us know, or at least those of us that have been out on the course and have thrown our pitching wedge in disgust, golf is all mental. After being hit with the penalty, it's unclear if the controversy will force Tiger to unravel in his third round on Saturday.
I suppose Woods has no one to blame but himself for the illegal drop, but with the field ahead of him playing superior golf, 2013 is not the year for Woods to add to his Masters total.
Woods will begin his attempt at a comeback at 1:45 p.m. ET on Saturday.
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