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Saturday, January 19, 2013

Well, At Least These Cups Are Safe

The post title is, of course, a reference to Tiger & Rory's new Nike commercial nicknamed No Cup Is Safe. (If you haven't seen it, I included the video in this post.)

Because, as you probably already know, Tiger & Rory's assault on the Abu Dhabi golf course came to an abrupt halt on Friday.

Tiger and Rory

Tiger's exit was interesting since it involved penalty strokes because of a local rule that neither he nor Martin Kaymer (the third member of the group) knew about. The primary rule he "infringed" is Rule 25-2, which reads as follows in The Rules of Golf:
25-2. Embedded Ball
A ball embedded in its own pitch-mark in the ground in any closely mown area through the green may be lifted, cleaned and dropped, without penalty, as near as possible to the spot where it lay but not nearer the hole. The ball when dropped must first strike a part of the course through the green. “Closely mown area” means any area of the course, including paths through the rough, cut to fairway height or less.
The key phrase here is "through the green," which doesn't include hazards like sand. Again, the USGA defines "through the green" like this:
“Through the green’’ is the whole area of the course except:
a. The teeing ground and putting green of the hole being played; and
b. All hazards on the course.
Tiger's ball ended up in an area that looked like lush vegetation to me but that the tournament folks insist is desert. Have a look for yourself, courtesy of the NY Daily News. Apparently there's a local rule that says this is sand. (I would have thought "closely mown area" would be sufficient, but golf rules are always more complicated than they need to be, aren't they?)

Tiger in desert?

At any rate, Tiger incurred a two-stroke penalty that put him over the cutline.

Less dramatically, Rory just didn't play well. He shot two 75s and was so frustrated after the first one that he took the new Nike Method putter out of his bag and put his old Scotty Cameron back in for the second round.

Not that it helped.

Personally, I think the two would have done just fine if tournament organizers had the forethought to flood all the putting greens... or put plate-glass windows in front of them... or maybe just scheduled some wedding receptions during their rounds.

After all, it worked in the video.

The top photo of Tiger and Rory came from this page at

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