Welcome to Teeing Off, where Devil Ball editor Shane Bacon and national columnist Jay Busbee take a day's topic and smack it all over the course. Suggest a future topic by hitting us on Twitter at@shanebacon and @jaybusbee. We do an impromptu Teeing Off on this Saturday to talk about the Tiger Woods ruling that is the talk of the tournament.
Bacon: Alright, no point in beating around the bush, you're our man on the grounds at Augusta National, what is everyone saying about this Tiger Woods ruling? Should he be playing on Saturday or should he disqualify himself?
Busbee: He shouldn't be playing on Saturday, but I'm not so sure he should disqualify himself. I'm of the opinion that Augusta made the right decision in the most wrong way possible. I've always thought that retroactive disqualification for failing to sign a correct scorecard was bull. But these are the rules of golf as they stand now ... or, at least, stood until this morning. Sure, it would be a good idea for Woods to withdraw, PR-wise, but as we've seen so many times before, Woods has defied the PR wisdom, and he's as popular now as he's ever been post-hydrant. Your thoughts?
Bacon: I think that it isn't up to Tiger, it's up to Augusta National and the ruling bodies. If they say he should play, he should play, but I still feel like fans will be up in arms if he's on the golf course this Saturday. Now, if he does play, what happens if he goes on to win? Will people call it an asterisk major? Will people forget about this?
Busbee: Here's the thing: I don't blame Tiger for this one. Well, yeah, I guess he's technically to blame for not knowing the rules, but my sequence of blame would go like this:
1. Official on the scene
2. Augusta National rules committee
3. Tom Rinaldi
All right, kidding about Rinaldi. But I don't think Tiger was cheating knowingly or to gain any sort of advantage. So this doesn't seem to fall in the category of, say, performance-enhancing drugs or deliberate attempts to deceive. For that reason, I think he's going to skate on this one from a blame perspective...and he should. But will he win?
Bacon: I think we've seen how Tiger plays when people are doubting him as a person, and it isn't pretty. I really don't think Tiger has a chance to win this thing because this will become bigger than the tournament. If Tiger contends, this will be the only thing we talk about. If he doesn't, people will wonder if it was the ruling that was to blame. I feel like the only move for Tiger is to pull out of this tournament because he is literally in a lose-lose situation.
Busbee: My thinking is, if Tiger withdraws now, what good does it do him long-term? Opinions on him are set in stone. My thinking is, he wants to change opinions? Meet it head-on. Play his game today, then take all questions, any topic. No more evasion. No more condescension. No more garbage. Will it happen? Of course not. But as we've seen with certain players (coughCouplescough) if you're able to get the media on (or back on) your side, you're golden. One-to-one would do that.
Bacon: I like the idea, but you really don't think there would be a BIG asterisk if Woods went on to win? Heck, people still think those Padraig Harrington major wins are questionable since Woods was hurt, so how is this any different?
Busbee: Fair point. It's like the Houston Rockets when Jordan was retired. But at this point, won't anyone's win have an asterisk attached? Tiger OR anyone else? Man, what a mess. Let's get back to some damn golf.