David Eger Had No Choice but to Call in Tiger Woods' Masters Rules Violation

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David Eger Had No Choice but to Call in Tiger Woods' Masters Rules Violation
Andrew Redington/Getty Images

David Eger was left with no choice but to contact PGA officials and alert them of a slight violation of a subsection of a rule, in a lengthy rule book, which was committed by Tiger Woods.

On the surface, this seems like a pretty petty thing to do as it would appear that it was simply someone watching at home who got overly excited at someone's misfortune and called them on it.

After all, Woods was dropping further from the hole, and he was clearly not intentionally violating the rules. 

However, there is far more to this story. 

The honor code in golf reigns supreme. It is at the core of the game, and for good reason. There are so many opportunities to cheat, and even in this day and age of video and pictures seemingly capturing every movement of everyone everywhere, there are still times when golfers would have opportunities to gain an unfair advantage without anyone noticing. 

We don't have to look any further than Woods' violation to realize this. Woods is far and away the most observed player on the course, and were it not for Eger, his incorrect drop—in the middle of the fairway—would have gone unnoticed. 

As fate would have it, it did not go unnoticed.  

Golf.com's Michael Bamberger points out, Eger was sitting at home when he caught up with Woods in action on No. 16 in the second round at Augusta, and he noticed he had dropped a shot from last time he saw Woods. 

So, he went back in the coverage, and saw this:

He then saw Woods drop another ball and hit another beautiful shot. However, he noticed something else on the drop, which he explains in this quote provided Bamberger

I could see there was a divot—not a divot, a divot hole—when he played the shot the second time that was not there the first time. I played it again and again. I could see that the fairway was spotless the first time he played the shot and there was that divot hole, maybe three or four feet in front of where he played after the drop.

Eger instantly recognized that this was in violation of golf's Rule 26-1-a, because he did not drop "as nearly as possible" to where he hit the original shot from. 

So, Eger made a call to PGA Tour official Mickey Bradley. Eger knew Bradley was working the tournament. 

By this point, you have to be realizing that Eger is either a rule-obsessed fan who makes it his mission in life to rat out rule breakers, or is somehow connected to the game.

It is the latter.

Eger is currently a Champions Tour golfer, and as CBS Sports' Gregg Doyel points out, he was the "USGA's senior director of rules and competition from 1992-95."

This left him with no choice but to call. Just like the golfers in the tournament, those watching also need to abide by the codes of golf.

Also, this is important to note for anyone still thinking Eger was being petty, he was not calling in to punish Tiger, but to save him, and ultimately he did.

Eger did not want Tiger to sign an incorrect card, and he wanted this information to be known before that happened.

If you were in Eger's shoes, would you have called in?

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Ultimately, Tiger did sign an incorrect card as the information was not revealed to him until the following day.

As Bamberger explains, officials initially reviewed the tape and did not find the drop to be as far away as Eger speculated. In other words, they didn't feel it was in violation of the rules.

It wasn't until Tiger admitted dropping further back in a post-round interview that action was forced to be taken.

However, since officials had initially not viewed this as a problem, it allowed the wiggle room to enact, as CBS Sports reports, with Rule 33-7.

In other words, it is only because Eger called and alerted officials, that Tiger was not forced to withdraw due to his drop and his ensuing candid comments.  

For someone in Eger's unique situation, calling in this violation was not a choice. It was an obligation. 

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