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Saturday, April 13, 2013
Bubba Watson: Viewer input not OK

ESPN.com news services

AUGUSTA, Ga. -- Defending champion Bubba Watson bristled Saturday at the idea a TV viewer can change the course of the Masters by calling in with their observations, saying "it shouldn't be allowed."

Watson, after shooting a third-round 70 on Saturday to climb to 2 over, said unlike the TV viewer who raised the issue of Tiger Woods' ball drop Friday with Masters officials, he wouldn't even know who to call if he saw someone breaking a rule.

"So I don't even know how these people get a number to call," Watson said. "And obviously they got more time on their hands than I do, because I don't know the number and I'm playing in the golf tournament."

Watson said he was glad Rule 33 was adjusted. Masters officials decided to penalize Woods two strokes instead of disqualifying him.

Woods was deemed to have taken an improper drop on the 15th hole during the second round at Augusta National on Friday when his approach shot hit the pin and bounced back into the water.

"It should protect us," Watson said of the rule adjustment. "The sad thing is the high-profile player gets the camera on him at all times. A guy could break a rule and not know he broke the rule. Like me today, there's no cameras on me today, everybody could care less what I was doing."

But Watson said TV viewers shouldn't be able to affect how players make rule decisions.

"So when somebody calls in like that, yeah, it shouldn't be that way, it shouldn't be allowed," Watson said. "Nobody calls in during the a basketball game or a football game."

Fred Couples called the rule adjustment "a blessing for every golf pro in the world."

"We all know that we'll get the same ruling if it happens to one of us," said Couples, 1 shot back entering Saturday's round.

Graeme McDowell, who at 5 over missed the cut by 1 shot, tweeted Saturday morning that he agreed with the penalty.

"Take the fact that it was Tiger out of the equation and it is a fair ruling," McDowell posted to Twitter.

Information from ESPN.com's Bob Harig was used in this report.