The events at golf's first major, the Masters in Augusta, GA, and in the Los Angeles Lakers game against the Golden State Warriors made Friday, April 12th historic, and almost cataclysmic. At the Masters, the youngest player, 14 year-old, Tianlang Guan, and the best player, world #1 Tiger Woods could have possibly turned the sports world upside down by rulings. Then to see Kobe Bryant, the Lakers' franchise player and 15-time all-star go down with what looked like a torn Achilles tendon; sports fans had to take a moment.
Guan, the Asia-Pacific amateur champ from China, was assessed a penalty shot at the Augusta National Golf Club on Friday. His playing group included the oldest player, Ben Crenshaw at 61, and Matteo Manassero. Everyone was extremely slow on Friday; backing off many shots, waiting for the wind, and pacing/sighting putts multiple times. Guan was made an example of and penalized after his 2nd shot on hole #17 when he exceeded 40-seconds, violating Rule 6-7.
Can you imagine what a ruckus this would have been if Guan, the last player to make the cut did not by that one shot penalty? Secretary of State John Kerry's talks with China to get them to help out with North Korea would not have been as welcomed.
Later on Friday, Woods on hole #15, at 5-under with the co-lead, hit the flag pole on his 2nd shot and the ball caromed into the creek. Woods seemed to drop the ball correctly according to Rule #26. After being prompted by a call from a television viewer, the Rules Committee reviewed video and determined Woods complied with the Rules. After Woods signed his scorecard and in his post-interview, said that he played further from the point. No action was taken Friday evening leaving everyone to think that Woods would be disqualified. CBS, patrons, and fans gasped at this concept.
Not until Sat. morning did Woods find out that he would be allowed to continue, only receiving a 2-shot penalty to start his third round at 1:45 PM.
The penalty of disqualification was waived by the Committee under Rule 33 because the Committee had made the prior ruling.
In Los Angeles, CA, Bryant left with about 3 minutes to go in the Lakers’ 118-116 win over the Warriors on Friday after appearing to injure his Achilles tendon while falling during a drive. Bryant finished with 34 points, 5 rebounds, and 4 assists. On Sat., it was confirmed that Bryant suffered a torn Achilles which ended his season and possibly the Lakers unless they can still hold off the Utah Jazz for the last spot, only up by a game and a half.
Bryant commented via social medium, "This is such BS! All the training and sacrifice just flew out the window with one step that I’ve done millions of times! The frustration is unbearable. The anger is rage. Why the hell did this happen ?!? Makes no damn sense. Now I’m supposed to come back from this and be the same player or better at 35?!? How in the world am I supposed to do that?? I have NO CLUE."
Friday's events will be talked about for a long time. Just think how bad it could have been. The collective breath is exhaled.