Tiger Woods was the subject of controversy before he even arrived at Baltusrol Golf Club late Friday morning, because of a newspaper report that suggested his caddie may have committed a rules violation during Thursday's opening round.
A report in Friday's Newark Star-Ledger claimed that Woods's caddie, Steve Williams, "might have" stepped on Woods's ball in the rough alongside a creek down the left side of the 18th fairway. If he did, it should have been a one-stroke penalty -- in addition to the penalty Woods eventually took for having an unplayable lie -- and Woods thus would have signed an incorrect scorecard and would have been disqualified.
However, Kerry Haigh, the PGA of America's managing director of tournaments, repeated his assertion, which he first made after Thursday's round, that there was no violation.
"There's no evidence whatsoever to indicate the ball was walked on or moved," Haigh said. "I'm very comfortable with our ruling."
According to the Star-Ledger report, Williams was the only person who walked near the spot where the ball was found, and he appeared to stop at one point, pick up his foot and look down -- "as if he had stepped on something," the newspaper reported.
Woods said Friday that he saw the videotape and believes Williams did not step on the ball.
On the tape, Williams "walks three steps closer to actually point out the golf ball," Woods said, "so he wasn't even near it. . . . He was walking outside of the hazard, and the ball was in the hazard."
Tree Limb Injures 3
Woods's round was interrupted for about 10 minutes on the fourth green Friday after a giant tree limb near the green splintered off the trunk about 40 feet high and fell, injuring two TV technicians and a spectator. Woods had just hit his third shot on the par 3 and was about 40 yards away from the tree when it fell.
"There was a loud cracking sound -- it got your attention," said Robert Keasbey, a PGA of America volunteer marshal from Ashland, Ore., who was working the fourth green. "It happened in slow motion, fortunately. It looked like it got some sway, and all of a sudden, it snapped. Then, it was 'crunch, crunch, crunch.' "
One of the TV technicians, a freelance audio specialist for Turner Sports who was identified as Frank Choy, suffered trauma to his left leg and was transported to a local hospital. The others suffered minor injuries and were treated onsite.
A PGA official said the tree would be removed after Friday's round as a precaution.