Criticism was boundless following Masters officials' decision to penalize Tiger Woods two strokes for an illegal drop, and one of the USGA's most ardent detractors was a surprising name: Hall of Fame quarterback Joe Montana.
In a string of tweets, the San Francisco 49ers great called those in charge at Augusta "full of crap" and said making the ruling after the fact was an unjust act:
USGA is full of crap Just like replay in #nfl if you dont catch it when it happens forget it. That would be like going back on a call in the— Joseph Montana (@JoeMontana) April 13, 2013
Superbowl that would change the outcome of the game. People cant wait to video and find something wrong with the game.Keep them out of the— Joseph Montana (@JoeMontana) April 13, 2013
Game. They are spectators and should stay that way. If the USGA doesn't see it as it happens, too BAD. This is not about Tiger but about— Joseph Montana (@JoeMontana) April 13, 2013
Keeping other people out od the game. How many fouls do you see in the #nba that dont get called or holding The day was over and no matter— Joseph Montana (@JoeMontana) April 13, 2013
What they say about integrity of the game, it doesn't matter. Notike anyone tries to break the rules. If you don't see it or call it as it— Joseph Montana (@JoeMontana) April 13, 2013
Happens too BAD! Its over! In my eyes.... not a good president.— Joseph Montana (@JoeMontana) April 13, 2013
During the early morning hours prior to Saturday's third round, Masters officials reviewed a drop Woods took on hole No. 15 in the second round. After knocking a shot off the flag and into the water, Woods' drop shot came from a couple of yards away from his initial spot—a violation of the rulebook.
Not noticed at the time of the violation, Woods carded a 71 for his day and went into the weekend three strokes behind leader Jason Day. However, an interview Woods gave after the round with ESPN sparked the interest of the USGA officials, and a review was launched.
Initially thought to be in danger of disqualification, Masters officials decided against barring Woods and issued a two-stroke penalty instead. Though not as swift of a penalty as taking the world’s No. 1 golfer out of the tournament, the two-stroke penalty put Tiger at one under—now five strokes behind the leader.
Montana's reaction was like many others, who saw penalizing Woods as a nonsensical application of a ruling that had no bearing on the outcome. The officials had taken their biggest calling card and rendered him a non-contender due to a small break of the rules.
For his part, Woods said he respected the committee’s decision prior to teeing off his third round.
Montana, however, was not nearly as forgiving.