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Tiger Woods plays despite controversy, still in the hunt at the Masters

7:19 PM, Apr 13, 2013   |    comments
Tiger Woods of the United States reacts to making par on the second hole during the third round of the 2013 Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club on April 13, 2013 in Augusta, Georgia. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
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AUGUSTA, Ga. - Tiger Woods awoke Saturday morning at 7:30 a.m. to a text message from Mark Steinberg, his agent.

"That's never a good thing," Woods laughed.

It wasn't a "Get Well" message, that's for sure. Woods called Steinberg, who informed him he faced a possible penalty for a drop he took the previous day in the second round of the Masters. Disqualification from the tournament also was a possibility. It was anything but a normal day thereafter - get coffee, don't get DQ'd, warm up, eat, get to the course and play in the Masters.

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And remain in contention for his fifth green jacket and 15th major championship.

Woods erased two bogeys with two birdies on the front nine, then made a mini-charge on the back nine with birdies at 12, 13 and 15 - the hole that caused the trouble Friday - and finished with a 2-under-par 70 and is 3 under through three rounds.

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He will start the final round four shots behind leaders Brandt Snedeker and 2009 Masters champion Angel Cabrera. Of the six players in front of him, only Cabrera has won a major.

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Early Saturday, however, Woods' status was in question.

Woods phoned Steinberg after receiving the text and learned of the issue at hand. He then phoned Augusta National and made it to the course a short time later. After a 20-minute meeting with Masters officials, Woods was assessed a two-stroke penalty for playing his ball from an improper position after taking an improper drop on the 15th hole. Woods had hit his third shot from 87 yards off the flagstick into a water hazard. He took his penalty drop near the original spot of his third shot but later told ESPN he wanted to go 2 yards back to improve his chances on his next shot. This would constitute the ball not being dropped "as nearly as possible" from where he played his third.

In essence, Woods inadvertently called the penalty on himself.

Masters officials, who first decided Woods had not taken an improper drop while Woods finished his second round, again reviewed the tape with Woods and decided to dock him two strokes.

Steve DiMeglio, USA TODAY Sports

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