Tiger Woods: A time limit is needed

Updated: September 18, 2013, 2:27 PM ET
By Bob Harig | ESPN.com

ATLANTA -- Tiger Woods would like to see a time limit placed on viewer call-ins of possible rules violations and endorsed PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem's view that such situations need to be studied.

Woods, who has been involved in three high-profile rules infractions this year while also coming under scrutiny for a drop at The Players Championship, said Wednesday that the potential for improvements in technology is part of the issue.

"I think what the commissioner said yesterday is very appropriate,'' Woods said at East Lake Golf Club, where the season-ending Tour Championship begins Thursday. "There needs to be a time limit, and I think there needs to be a discussion obviously where is that time limit? Where is that line of demarcation? You've got to start with disqualification and then work our way back from there.

"I'm sure there's going to be a lot of discussion over it. What's going to happen over the course of time? Is every player going to be mandated to have a camera follow them around everywhere they go -- all 156 players (in a regular tour event) for every shot? Or is there a certain time limit when we're going to have to do it? Is it going to change in the digital age? These are all questions and answers that need to be resolved in the near future.''

Woods got hit with a two-stroke penalty at the BMW Championship on Friday after a video showed he caused his ball to move behind the first green during the second round. Woods believed the ball only "oscillated'' -- which would have meant no penalty.

Tiger Woods
Sam Greenwood/Getty ImagesTiger Woods, whose penalty at the BMW Championship was his third rules infraction of the season, would like to see call-in procedures evaluated. "I'm sure there's going to be a lot of discussion over it," Woods said Wednesday.

PGA Tour rules officials reviewed video that was shot by a tour entertainment crew and informed Woods before he signed his card.

Woods' other penalties came at the Abu Dhabi Championship (where he took an improper drop and was penalized two strokes) and at the Masters, where he did not drop close enough to his original spot when replaying a shot that went into a water hazard. That was the only instance of a viewer calling in the infraction, and it wasn't brought to Woods' attention until after he signed his card.

Typically that would result in disqualification -- the penalty strokes were not added to the score, hence an incorrect scorecard -- but Masters rules officials added the strokes because they believed they were in error for not bringing the information to Woods' attention.

That timing seems to be at the crux of Woods' comments as well as those of Finchem.

"Is disqualification reasonable for signing a card wrong when you didn't intentionally do anything?'' Finchem said. "Going from there, to what's a reasonable point to accept outside information if you don't learn about something before X-time?''

Some have suggested that at the end of play each day, each player's score should then be official. Presently, a rules infraction can be brought to the attention of officials before the end of the tournament, even if it happened days earlier. And because a player is required to sign his card -- and would thus have an incorrect scorecard if penalty strokes came to light later -- there is no choice but disqualification.

In Woods' 17 years on the PGA Tour, there is believed to be only one significant rules issue he was involved in prior to 2013 -- at the 1999 Phoenix Open, where spectators were allowed to move a huge boulder because it was deemed to be a loose impediment. That was a favorable ruling.

This year, three have gone against him, each costing him two shots. There was also the tee shot at the 14th hole during the final round of The Players Championship, where the spot the ball crossed the hazard line was in question. Woods' playing partner, Casey Wittenberg, signed off on the placement of the drop, however, and Woods was not penalized.

"I have had plenty of rulings over the course of my time out on tour,'' Woods said. "I can't remember another year in which this has happened like this, but it's kind of just the way it's been and the way it goes.''

Woods leads the FedEx Cup standings and would win it for the third time with a victory at East Lake, where he's played eight times and won in 2007. Various other scenarios would also give him the FedEx Cup title.

Woods did not play a practice round at East Lake on Wednesday, instead spending about 45 minutes putting and chipping and then going to the fitness trailer prior to leaving the course.

Having already clinched his 10th career PGA Tour money title, Woods is also in line for the Vardon Trophy, given to the player with the lowest scoring average. With five victories -- including two World Golf Championship events and The Players Championship -- Woods could capture PGA Tour player of the year honors for the 11th time, although Adam Scott or Phil Mickelson are strong candidates, as well.

"I'd like to get a sixth win,'' Woods said. "And we'll see what happens.''

Bob Harig | email

Golf Writer, ESPN.com

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