Augusta keeps same rules despite 2013 Tiger uproar

Billy Payne, chairman of Augusta National Golf Club, speaks during a press conference before the Masters golf tournament Wednesday, April 9, 2014, in Augusta, Ga. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
Billy Payne, chairman of Augusta National Golf Club, speaks during a press conference before the Masters golf tournament Wednesday, April 9, 2014, in Augusta, Ga. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
Posted: April 11, 2014

AUGUSTA, Ga. - Augusta National Golf Club chairman Billy Payne said Wednesday that the Masters has not changed the way it positions its rules officials, a policy that came under criticism last year during controversy over an illegal drop taken by Tiger Woods at No. 15.

Woods was found to have not taken a proper drop after finding the water with his third shot on the par-5 hole in the second round. It was not until the next day that Woods was penalized 2 strokes, but he was not disqualified for having signed an incorrect scorecard that had not included the assessment.

The Masters is the only major championship that does not have a rules official walking with each group. Instead, the officials are stationed at various spots along the course. At his annual news conference, Payne said the procedure for handling rules issues was reviewed but not changed.

"We have approximately 60 officials on the course, significantly more than any other tournament," he said. "We think the way we do it is pretty good, which is not to say that we would never consider a change. But we kind of like the way we do it now."

Payne also said an ice storm that hit Augusta National less than two months ago and destroyed the famed Eisenhower Tree to the left of the 17th fairway did not damage the course itself. He said crews mounted a "herculean effort to trim and remove branches and significant debris" since the storm.

He said the club had no definitive plan about whether it would replace the tree, but added that play and scoring on No. 17 will be examined this week and that it "will make a decision after careful observation and consideration."

Ryan Moore jinxed

About to start his sixth Masters, Ryan Moore won the annual par-3 contest with a 6-under-par 21, a stroke off the record shared by Art Wall Jr. and Gay Brewer Jr.

Since the event began in 1960, no player has won the par-3 competition and the Masters in the same year.

Former Masters champion Mark O'Meara and 1986 U.S. Amateur champion Buddy Alexander each aced the second hole. Matt Jones, winner of last week's Houston Open, holed out his tee ball at No. 3.

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