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Golf | European Tour

Tiger Woods © Gallo Images

Rules blunder sinks Woods

Tiger Woods' first foray of the 2013 season came to an abrupt end at the Abu Dhabi Golf Championship on Friday when a bizarre rules infringement meant he missed the cut.

The world No 2 had battled back from a poor start to the day to get to one over for the tournament, with the cut for the weekend projected to be at two over.

But he had earlier been informed by referee Andy McFee while playing the 11th that he was facing a two stroke penalty for an incident on the fifth.

That came about when Woods took a drop thinking his ball was embedded in a grounded area to the right of the fairway. He had asked playing partner Martin Kaymer, who agreed the ball was embedded.

The problem was that after spectators had brought the matter to the notice of course officials, an investigation was carried out and the area was deemed to be a sanded area of scrub, from which no relief is allowed under the rules.

The two-stroke penalty was later confirmed by officials when Woods finished his round.

In explanation, McFee said: "The embedded ball rule is for a closely-mown area only. There's a note to that rule, which extends embedded ball relief to through the green, but that is very specific in that it says in ground other than sand.

"So wherever you are, you do not get a relief for a ball which is embedded in sand and that's just a bad lie and you have to play it."

Woods said that he had not realised that the area was sandy-based and that was why he took the drop.

"So that was why Andy gave me a penalty and I missed the cut," he said. "It's tough because I didn't get off to a very good start today and I fought and got it back."

Woods said he would head for home and get ready for his second start of he season at Torrey Pines, California for the Farmers Insurance tournament.


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