When playing his fourth hole of the day, the 47-year-old's drive went way to the right and landed in the crowd. However, when he arrived to find his ball, Woods discovered it had landed in a fan’s jacket! Woods then spoke to the supporter to determine exactly where he had stood when the ball made impact.
The fan pointed to the ground and said: “I pulled off my jacket and it fell right there.” Woods then responded: “OK, where we you standing when the ball…” when the fan interjected: “Right here – I haven’t moved. He’s security, he knows”. After the fan pointed to an official, Woods then said: “OK, so you were basically right there?” The fan confirmed: “Yeah, right here.”
“If I could I would have pushed it out.” @TigerWoods’ drive on 13 ended up in a fan’s jacket @TheGenesisInv. pic.twitter.com/beFCE8JIogFebruary 18, 2023
At that point the rules official stepped in to confirm what would happen next. He said: “We’re going to go underneath it and drop it and a club length.” The fan then joked: “If I could have. I would have pushed it out!”
The incident had similarities with a situation that occurred last November on the LPGA’s Toto Japan Classic. Back then, a wayward drive from Saiki Fujita landed in a spectator's backpack. Like Woods, that resulted in her being given a drop directly below where the spectator had stood when the ball landed.
That is consistent with Rule 15.2a, which states that when the ball is in or on a movable obstruction anywhere on the course except the green, "you may take free relief by lifting your ball, removing the movable obstruction and dropping your original ball or another ball."
Woods went on to save par on the hole. Six holes later, he rolled back the years with an eagle - that was very nearly an albatross - as he began moving up the leaderboard, to the delight of the crowd.
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Mike has over 25 years of experience in journalism, including writing on a range of sports throughout that time, such as golf, football and cricket. Now a freelance staff writer for Golf Monthly, he is dedicated to covering the game's most newsworthy stories.
He has written hundreds of articles on the game, from features offering insights into how members of the public can play some of the world's most revered courses, to breaking news stories affecting everything from the PGA Tour and LIV Golf to developmental Tours and the amateur game.
Mike grew up in East Yorkshire and began his career in journalism in 1997. He then moved to London in 2003 as his career flourished, and nowadays resides in New Brunswick, Canada, where he and his wife raise their young family less than a mile from his local course.
Kevin Cook’s acclaimed 2007 biography, Tommy’s Honour, about golf’s founding father and son, remains one of his all-time favourite sports books.
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