Officials deny 'cowering' to Woods - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Officials deny 'cowering' to Woods

By Norman Dabell 20/07/2007 05:55:51 AM Comments (0)

British Open organisers, the Royal and Ancient (R&A), have dismissed claims that holder Tiger Woods had been given preferential treatment over a first-round ruling.

World No.1 Woods' ball landed in rough near cables on the par-four 10th and he was notified he could drop without penalty before even reaching it.

From the drop, according to onlookers, his ball found a far more favourable lie. Woods made par comfortably on his way to a round of 69 that left him two strokes off Irishman Paul McGinley's early lead.

The incident left Woods baffled and he later told a news conference: "It was a weird drop. I was as surprised as anybody. Usually TV cables are movable, but they deemed it immovable. I've never seen that ruling before.

"I didn't ask for it. The guy told me I could.

"I thought they should have been able to move those (cables). Every time I've played around the world, they've picked those up, no problem."

When asked about his drop, Woods said it had not helped him: "I dropped a little bit worse, actually."

Soon after Woods had played, the cables were lifted and that led to questions being asked of the R&A about the decision, made by rules official Alan Holmes.

The R&A's director of rules, David Rickman, rejected the suggestion that officials were "scared" of Woods, leading to a beneficial ruling.

"I've not met any rules official who is scared of any player," Rickman said.

"We are there to help. If you've got a ball close to cables it's only going to be a matter of time before he would ask about it.

"My understanding of it was that the cables were not movable hence he (the rules official) was correct in his ruling."

The incident rather overshadowed a solid start by Woods on a course drenched by early heavy rain, as he tried to make it three British Open titles in a row.

Woods, who denied himself a share of the lead with bogeys on the 12th and 13th holes, was happy with his day.

"I feel good about what I did. I made those mistakes on 12 and 13 but shooting under par, you always feel good about that."

His opening effort was five strokes better than his start at Carnoustie in 1999, where he went on to finish tied seventh.

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