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Tiger Woods and The Politics of Golf

The world of golf has been turned upside down by the recent ruling issued by the Masters Officials involving Tiger Woods. He received a two-stroke penalty for taking an illegal drop following his third shot on the Par-5 15th hole in the second round of the Masters Tournament on Friday. Tiger Woods' third shot hit a flag stick and bounced back into the water. According to the rules in golf, there are certain options Tiger had at this point. Under Rule 26-1, he chose to drop the ball "as near as possible" from where he played the third shot. Except that he didn't do this. He dropped the ball somewhere else.

In a post interview, he said he wanted to go two yards back of the original divot to make sure the ball landed short of the flag, which would constitute playing from wrong place.

It's really that simple.

In politics, when politicians change their stories or forgive themselves from their responsibilities for grandiose reasons, most people know that amidst all the grovelling, something is amiss. This is usually followed by an attempt on their part to bury their actions in legal technicalities. And this act almost always precedes the most common excuse in the history in the world, "I didn't know", "I was unaware" or (a personal favorite), "I had no knowledge of". The media certainly plays a hand in tangling excuses around an issue, effectively losing the truth to a capillary of trivialities and a certain reliance on the world's short-term memory loss.

In 2009, the world was taken aback when Tiger Woods' integrity took a beating due to the discovery of a myriad of indiscretions he had committed. Pictures were posted, people were interviewed, story after story was written with intricate details uncovering a different character of Tiger Woods altogether. Tiger Woods had cheated. Tiger Woods had cheated a lot.

Fast forward to April 2013: Tiger Woods cheats again, albeit in golf this time around. The truth of Tiger Woods' character has already been revealed, but the idea of a hero is hard to die. It persists despite all evidence to the contrary. Apparently, the hope of a hero involves a multitude of second chances, especially if you are Tiger Woods. The politics surrounding Tiger Woods dictate, that although he is a cheater, he still gets to play the game because, "he didn't know".

The grand finale: The Masters Tournament continues. The ratings will not suffer. The show will go on. And the truth is left behind at the 15th hole.


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