(Reuters) – Tiger Woods avoided a penalty at the Hero World Challenge on Friday after rules officials determined that a double-hit was not visible in real time.
Slow-motion, high definition television replays showed Woods’ club making contact with the ball at least twice as he scooped it out of a bush on the final hole at Albany in the Bahamas.
Under a rule implemented last year, however, a penalty is not assessed if such an infraction is visible only in slow motion replays.
“In slow motion I did hit it twice but in real time I didn’t feel that at all,” Woods told reporters after shooting 69 to trail second-round leaders Jon Rahm and Henrik Stenson by eight strokes.
Rules official Mark Russell said the incident had been reviewed and that Woods, who double-bogeyed the hole, was in the clear.
Had the incident occurred before April 2017, Woods would have received a one-stroke penalty.
That was when the game’s governing bodies, the U.S. Golf Association and the Royal & Ancient, changed a rule in response to improvements in video technology that were leading to penalties that in previous eras would have been avoided.
“If the committee concludes that such facts could not reasonably have been seen with the naked eye and the player was not otherwise aware of the potential breach, the player will be deemed not to have breached the rules, even when video technology shows otherwise,” the rule said.
From Jan. 1, when major revisions of the rule book will be implemented, there will be no penalty for accidentally hitting a ball more than once on a single stroke.
(Reporting by Andrew Both in Cary, North Carolina; Editing by Peter Rutherford)