Tiger Woods will lose the 2013 Masters in the Final Round to none other than "karma" itself.
At the Masters Tournament, the golfing gods reign supreme, especially on Sundays at Augusta National.
If you're reading this article, you already have a solid understanding of what took place with Tiger on the 15th hole in Round 2 of the Masters. It's what unfolded as a result of officials becoming aware of a potential rules violation Saturday morning, that has the sports world in a state of controversy.
Thanks to a two-year-old rule produced as a result of high-definition television, Woods was only assessed a two-stroke penalty by officials rather than being fully disqualified from the Masters.
The Golf Channel's Rex Hoggard best explained the rationale behind the decision,
Woods is not being disqualified for signing an incorrect scorecard under Rule 33-7, which states, “A penalty of disqualification may in exceptional individual cases be waived, modified or imposed if the committee considers such action warranted."
The bottom line is while rules officials opted to only penalize Tiger with a two-stroke penalty, the world's No. 1 golfer should have made the morally sound decision to simply withdraw from the 2013 Masters Tournament.
However, the four-time Masters champion decided to merely "accept" the penalty handed down to him.
ESPN's Bob Harig wrote on Saturday, "Tiger Woods admitted he made a mistake, was fine with the two-stroke penalty, and never considered withdrawing from the Masters. Now he'd like to get about the business of trying to win his fifth green jacket."
Therein lies the problem with this unique situation at golf's most storied event, where etiquette and tradition reign supreme. As talented and smart of a golfer and human being as Tiger is, he failed to even "consider" withdrawing from the year's first major.
No, he certainly didn't have to withdraw from the Masters. In fact, he didn't.
It is all about the player and the integrity of the game. Woods violated the rules as he played #1 carries a greater burden. WD for the game— Greg Norman (@SharkGregNorman) April 13, 2013
However, he missed the absolute perfect opportunity to repair his still-tainted public image and show millions upon millions of viewers (and young children) that doing the right thing is the most important thing in life. It was a golden opportunity to earn back millions of fans, but he failed to pull the trigger.
Instead, Woods opted to continue his hot pursuit of a fifth green jacket. He made a horrible decision, yet one that without question speaks volumes to his character as a human being (not just a golfer).
There are so-called things in life as "teachable moments," and I'd love to hear how parents explained Tiger's decision not to withdraw himself from the Masters to their own impressionable children?
In reality, it was a pretty black-and-white decision process for the PGA Tour's three-time winner this season. He could have either accepted the rules officials' decision to "waive" the an automatic disqualification for signing an incorrect scorecard or simply take it upon himself to withdraw.
Do we want to teach our kids to just do what we're told in life, or do we want our kids to know that doing the "right thing" is ultimately most important in life?
As the father of two little girls that will grow up learning the game of golf, I think it's a disgrace.
While reactions were mixed amongst PGA Tour pros on Twitter today, Tiger certainly had his share of colleagues speak out against his decision not to withdraw.
In the end, it was certainly Tiger's own decision to make and one he'll have to live with for years.
Nevertheless, don't forget about the aforementioned "golfing gods" at Augusta National.
Heading into the Final Round of the Masters, Woods only has six golfers standing ahead of him on the leaderboard: Matt Kuchar, Jason Day, Marc Leishman, Adam Scott, Angel Cabrera and Brandt Snedeker. He trails leaders Cabrera and Snedeker by a mere four shots.
On Sunday at the Masters, karma will find Tiger as the tournament draws to a close.
I'll never cheer against an athlete, it's simply not the ethical thing to do. Nevertheless, I will be watching closely as Tiger makes his way through the famed back nine at Augusta on Sunday.
He'll play the best he can in hopes of claiming his fifth green jacket, but ultimately he'll come up either one or two shots shy of winning the year's first major championship.
Oh, the irony, Tiger, oh the irony.