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- Thursday, May 09, 2013 - From Print Edition


PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Florida: One night after making his red carpet debut in New York, Tiger Woods was on a golf course that hasn’t treated him very well over the years.


Woods said it took him a week to get over his tie for fourth at the Masters. Next up is The Players Championship, where he has won only once in 15 years and has just one top 10 since that victory in 2001.


“If you’re not playing well, you’re going to get exposed,” Woods said.


Woods attended the Costume Institute Gala with girlfriend Lindsey Vonn.


“It was certainly different,” Woods said.


“Lindsey wanted to try and grow her brand. She’s come out with a new perfume and makeup line, so that was a big thing for her and I’m supporting it. As you know, I’m not really big into fashion stuff.”


“We’ll see,” Woods said.


“Maybe I can just go in jeans and a T-shirt or something.”


The visit to the red carpet may have helped Woods put out of his mind the controversy at the Masters.


It started with Woods’ third shot hitting the flag on the 15th hole and bouncing back into the water on the opening hole. Woods unknowingly took an illegal drop, but he wasn’t told about the possible infraction until after he signed his card. Augusta National took the blame, with competitions chairman Fred Ridley saying it didn’t initially notice the violation and chose not to ask Woods about it before he signed his card.


Eventually, he was given a two-shot penalty but allowed to stay in the tournament — instead of being disqualified for signing an incorrect scorecard — under Rule 33-7 that gives a committee discretion to waive the disqualification penalty.


The U.S. Golf Association and Royal & Ancient last week said the Masters was within its right not to disqualify Woods. He wound up four shots off the lead in a tie for fourth, his 15th consecutive major without winning.


Woods said he was surprised that the drop and how it was handled was still being debated. “Fred explained it pretty well,” Woods said.


“For some reason, evidently that wasn’t accepted.”


Woods said he if saw a violation on television, he would not call it in. Television viewers — in the case of the Masters, it was David Eger, a respected rules expert — have been calling in what they think are rules violations for years.


“I don’t ever see myself calling in and saying that Kobe (Bryant) traveled or things like that, or an offensive lineman held,” he said.


“But it’s our sport. And that’s what we’ve done and we’ve accepted. Certain groups are going to get more heat than others just because they’re on TV. It is what it is.”


Woods said he didn’t stop thinking about it until he resumed practice a week later. “Unfortunately, I hit a good shot and got a bad break,” Woods said.


“But I still had an opportunity over the next 36 holes to get it back and I just didn’t do it.”


Woods doesn’t have much of an answer when it comes to the TPC Sawgrass.


He has failed to crack the top 20 eight times, the most of any tournament he has played. He is the No. 1 player in the year, and looks like it. In his last three events, he has won twice and tied for fourth. How that translates to the TPC Sawgrass is unpredictable.


“Some of the years, I’ve driven it well and not hit my irons well, and other years I’ve hit the ball great and not putted well,” Woods said.


“And other years I’ve drove it awful and didn’t score well. You’ve got to have all the facets of your game going here.”