|Tiger Woods was penalized in Abu Dhabi for a free drop that officials say he was not entitled to. (GettyImages)|
Woods and McIlroy have missed the cut at the HSBC Championship in Abu Dhabi after a wild second round.
First, McIlroy switched back to his old Scotty Cameron putter after just 18 holes with his Nike Method flat stick.
When asked after the round about the switch he said:
I just felt the greens I have been practicing on were much faster. It was just a weight issue. I'm not here to talk about my (Nike) contract. I'm here to talk about my golf. I'm very disappointed. You never want to get off to a poor start, but I've got to realize it's only the start of the season.
He shot his second straight 75 and will easily miss the cut.
Tiger also shot a 75 but took a very different path to get there. According to this post by ESPN's Bob Harig, here's what happened:
European Tour rules officials had assessed [Woods] two strokes for an infraction earlier in the round. His tee shot on the par-4 fifth hole had sailed right of the fairway and Woods discovered it embedded. He consulted another player in the group,
Martin Kaymer, who agreed it was embedded; that means a free drop.
According to Woods, European Tour rules official Andy McPhee told him that it was a sandy area, not entitled to such relief. Woods was told of the penalty on the 11th hole and his score on the fifth went from a 5 to a 7.
His plus-3 will fall one shot outside the cut line.
Here's a photo of the "sandy" area where his ball was embedded.
Hoggard also reported on Golf Channel that he and GolfWeek's Alistair Tait initiated an inquiry to the rules officials that prompted the officials to investigate the drop further.
This is Tiger's first missed cut in 21 regular European Tour events.
According to this Golf Channel post, here's what Tiger had to say about the penalty:
I thought my ball was embedded so I called Martin over. He agreed. Evidently it was sandy-based and it doesn't call for an embedded ball there.
Rules official Andy McFee disagreed:
It only applies to ground not in a sandy area.
It's a little strange to me that Tiger called Kaymer (not a rules official) over to check out his ball and not an actual rules official. Seems very un-Tiger-like, unless you think he was trying to get away with something (I don't).
I don't think anyone saw this coming. Not only that Tiger and McIlroy missed the cut, but the manner in which they did -- hacking drives, pulling fairway woods, tons of putts, rules violations -- it's so different than what we've come to expect from both of them.
My favorite quote came from Matt Ginella on Golf Channel. He said "Martin Kaymer probably felt like he was playing in a pro-am with two Nike executives."
Oh yeah, Justin Rose leads the tournament at 8-under.
Here's video of Tiger's drop.
Updated: I mistook the line in the Nike commercial as "no cut is safe" -- clearly that's wrong (I'm an idiot) and the first sentence of this post has been amended. Thanks commenters!