Billy Payne: No significant rules changes at Masters

Fitzgerald Cecilio – 4E Sports Reporter

Augusta, GA, United States (4E Sports) – Augusta National club chairman Billy Payne said there will be no significant rules changes at this year’s Masters.

“The issue that you’re addressing, I think that we made the right decision,” Payne said. “I believe that the golf world has affirmed that. I know that some of you disagree with the decision.”

“Nevertheless, I think it is important that we communicate quickly with people, as we have a serious matter under deliberation, and we’re going to do that,” he added.

Payne was expected to reveal several rules changes after the controversy involving Tiger Woods in last year’s tournament.

In his annual media address, Payne was asked about the rules issues that plagued the event last year, although Woods’ improper drop on the 15th hole of the second round that led to a 2-stroke penalty was not specifically mentioned.

Woods faced disqualification for signing an incorrect scorecard, but the Masters rules committee decided to invoke Rule 33-7, which allows a scorecard DQ to be rescinded if there is a belief that the committee made an error.

In this instance, Masters officials received calls from television viewers who believed Woods may have taken an improper drop.

After reviewing video, officials, led by rules chairman Fred Ridley, decided there was no penalty and did not discuss the information with Woods, letting him sign his scorecard.

It was only later, after Woods had commented on the drop, that they decided there may have been a mistake. Woods went on to tie for fourth, four shots behind winner Adam Scott.

“We have approximately 60 officials on the course, significantly more than any other tournament,” he said. “We think we do it pretty good with the familiarity they acquire for the specific holes, some with as many as six officials on it.”

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