The object of the game of golf is to hit the little white ball into the hole on the green. But, because some of the holes are 400 or even 500 yards away from the tee box where you start the hole, a pin is placed in that hole so the golfer can see from a distance at what’s he’s aiming.

As each golfer improves with experience, aiming the ball at the pin and hitting it with a golf club becomes easier and almost routine. And the most talented golfers in the world—those who are on the Pro Golf Tour—can usually chip the ball real close to the pin.

Tiger Woods is the No. 1 ranked golfer in the world. And he fires the ball at the pin with precise accuracy. In fact, when he was tied for the lead in Friday’s second round, his third shot on a long Par-5 No-15 hole was so much on line that it hit the flagstick on the fly from around 100 yards away from the green.

That’s quite an accomplishment for any golfer. However, Tiger’s shot that was 100 per cent accurate to his target caromed off the flagstick and into the water that was adjacent to the green.

So instead of the ball landing just a couple of feet from the hole for an easy birdie 4, because the ball went into the water, Tiger received a one-stroke penalty.

Now he had an option to either hit his fifth shot from a specially-marked drop zone, or drop the ball on a line between himself and the hole from where the ball last crossed the margin of the hazard or drop another golf ball from the original spot where he hit the ball that caromed off the pin and splashed into the pond.

He didn’t have the second option because the ball didn’t ricochet back toward him so Tiger chose the latter, but to insure that he wouldn’t hit the flagstick again, he dropped  the ball back two yards and hit it within two feet of the hole for an easy bogey-6.

A viewer called Augusta National and said Tiger broke PGA Rule 26-1 that states if a player chooses to go back to his original spot, the ball should be dropped as “nearly as possible” to the spot where it was last played.

What amazes me is that any viewer from off the street can call this PGA Hotline and report an infraction. Can you imagine football, baseball, basketball or hockey having a similar hotline for fans that spot a blown call or a no-call by a game official while watching it on television?

“The Rules Committee reviewed a video of the shot while Woods was playing the 18th hole,” Fred Ridley, the competition committee chairman said in a statement. “At that moment and based on that evidence, the Committee determined Tiger had complied with the rules.”

However, Woods later admitted in media interviews that he had played the shot two yards behind the original spot. The Rules of Golf allow a player to hit from the original spot.

The fact Tiger admitted to dropping the ball two yards farther back caused an explosion on social media networks, according to and prompted a further review by the Masters.

The Masters officials spoke to Woods early Saturday morning and accessed him and two-stroke penalty, actually giving him a net 8 on Hole No. 15. Tiger evidently broke the rule and deserved the penalty at the time, not almost 16 hours later. So technically, Woods signed an incorrect scorecard and should have been disqualified.

Ridley cited a two-year-old rule that allows penalty strokes to be added to a player’s score after a round, if facts were not reasonably presented at the time the scorecard was signed. “It would have been grossly unfair to disqualify Tiger,” Ridley said.

“I really wasn’t even thinking,” Tiger admitted. “I was still a little ticked at what happened. All I was thinking about was trying to make sure I took some yardage off my next shot. Evidently, it was pretty obvious I didn’t drop it in the right spot.”

I’m not siding with Tiger for breaking one of the many new rules the Golf Committee dreams up in their spare time, because no matter what occupation one chooses, as an employee it is his or her duty to keep up with the company’s policy changes and adhere to them.

But all this wouldn’t have happened if Tiger’s original third shot on hole No. 15 was a foot shorter and didn’t hit the flagstick. And there was a darned good chance he might have at least been it that playoff with eventual winner Adam Scott and runner-up Angel Cabrera or maybe even won the 2013 Masters.

But as it stands today, Scott became the first Masters champion from Australia and Tiger extended his drought at Augusta National to eight years, his winless streak in the major tourneys to 19 and finished in a tie for fourth place with Marc Leishman and won $352,000 instead of that prestigious green jacket.

KWICKIES…Orange’s Marathon Man Kenny Ruane ran in last Saturday’s Bellaire Trolley 5K Run in Houston and won his age division (70-75 years) by several minutes. Ken estimated there were around 1,000 runners in the event and posted a time of 21:34. “That was the best time I’ve run in over a year,” Ruane bubbled. He made it back to Orange in time to catch our threesome at Sunset Grove Country Club teeing off on Hole 16 and managed to lose two skins to yours truly over those last three holes.

The Houston Astros seem to play much better on the road than at Minute Maid Park, splitting six games with the Seattle Mariners and the Los Angeles Angels and scoring bunches of runs in the process. The road trip concludes after the series at first-place Oakland that began Monday night.

Congrats to the Houston Rockets for making it to the NBA Playoffs that will start next week after missing them for the last three seasons. The Rockets stood in a tie for the sixth seed after their 121-100 victory over the Sacramento Kings Sunday in their final regular-season home game of the season. Houston can clinch sixth place with victories at Phoenix Monday night and against the Lakers in LA today (Wed.) or receive a little help from some other teams.

Lumberton native Clay Buchholz narrowly missed pitching another no-hitter Sunday as the Boston red Sox blanked Tampa Bay 5-0. The 27-year old right-hander lost his bid for the no-hitter when he gave up a broken-bat single to Kelly Johnson leading off the eighth inning. He allowed two hits in eight innings and upped his season’s record with the Bosox to 3-0 for the young season. Buchholz threw a no-hitter in his second-ever start for Boston on Sept. 1, 2007.

The Lamar baseball team took two-of-three from the Sam Houston Bearkats last weekend at Vincent-Beck Field in Beaumont, winning the rubber game 5-1 Sunday behind the nine-inning, route-going performance by starting pitcher Eric Harrington. It was the second straight series win for the Redbirds, who evened their Southland Conference record to 6-6 for the year and 26-11 overall. The Cards host UT-San Antonio today (Wed.) at Vincent-Beck and then swing back into SLC action with a three-game series at Northwestern Louisiana that begins Friday.

The Lamar Lady Cardinals softball team also took two-of-three Southland Conference games from Southeastern Louisiana, winning the deciding game 5-4 Sunday. The Lady Cards are in third place in the SLC and swing back into action today at 6 p.m. against Texas Southern in Beaumont.

JUST BETWEEN US…We rented the movie “To Hell and Back” which starred Audie Murphy, who played himself in his autobiography, and got so much more meaning from it than when I watched it as a dumb teenager many years ago. After visiting the battlefield earlier this month where Lt. Murphy’s platoon of 40 men were fighting some 300 German soldiers at the Alsace region of France near the German border, the movie made a lot more sense to me. The biggest difference between the movie’s version of the battle where Murphy turned back the entire German regiment single-handedly is that it depicted summertime, when the actual battle took place during the winter in about a foot of snow with temperatures hovering around zero.