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Masters 2024: Why Tiger Woods had to hit THREE tee shots on one (disastrous) hole

April 14, 2024
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Warren Little

AUGUSTA, Ga. — Tiger Woods' weekend struggles at the 2024 Masters continued on Sunday, leaving his loving patrons disappointed. But at least they can learn from the 15-time major champ's worst hole of his early final round.

Woods made a mess of the fifth on Sunday as he tumbled farther down the leaderboard. What was even crazier than Woods making a triple bogey, though, was the fact that he hit three tee shots on the par 4, the last of which included a ride back to the tee in a golf cart.

That's right. Three tee shots. Confused? Let's explain this Rules of Golf situation.

It started with Tiger's initial drive, that sailed to the right. WAY right and into the trees. Thinking his ball might be lost—a decent assumption—Tiger teed up a provisional and hit another shot from the tee, this one down the middle. Of course, because that's what "Player B" always does. But then things got tricky.

Woods actually found his first ball, which wasn't necessarily a good thing. He had come to rest in a place where he had no way to play his second shot. He was going to have to take an unplayable lie. Even worse, he determined that in taking his unplayable relief, there was no place to drop within two club lengths that didn't still leave him with miserable shot. So he could just use that other ball sitting in the middle of the fairway, right? Wrong.

Under the Rules of Golf, that provisional ball Woods hit only remains in play if the original ball is never found or out of bounds. Woods found the ball, immediately taking the provisional out of play. Since Woods didn't want to try to hack out or take the two club lengths drop and hack out, his only other option was to hit from the previous spot. In other words, he had to re-tee. Again.

Woods took his driver and began walking back to the tee box before being picked up for a ride (yes, that's legal). He then found the fairway with his third shot from the tee. It counted as his third shot on the hole, one for the original tee shot, two for the penalty for taking unplayable lie. From there, Woods found the front of the green with his fourth shot, but three-putted for a triple bogey.

Following his worst-ever Masters score of 82 on Saturday, Woods' Sunday didn't go much better. But at least, we can all use what happened to him on No. 5 as a learning situation. And if you're still confused, make sure you read this and this. Because it's never a bad time to brush up on the rules—even during Masters Sunday.

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