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May 3, 2008

Tony Wallin


Q. Obviously you were in there for a little while. Just explain the situation and how things came down.
TONY WALLIN: Well, what we had is Stewart asked me a question about an action that he took within the confines of the water hazard on the 17th hole, and when we went through it the first time, it appeared as though there may be a breach of rule 13-4 in actions that are permitted or prohibited within a hazard when your ball lies in the hazard. At that point it looked like it might be a two-stroke penalty for an infraction of touching the ground in the hazard.
However, as we discussed it further and got into the details and basically the down-and-dirty details of what Stewart had done, what he had done is been going down very low, crouching down to look at his lie to see if he could play the ball without having the danger of the ball coming back into the water hazard if he tried to play it. He had to get so low that he kind of just out of the natural reaction for balance, he put his hand down to steady himself in the hazard, and of course when you're doing something for balance, that's to prevent falling.
The one exception, one of the exceptions under Rule 13-4 is that to prevent falling is as a result of -- or to prevent falling, you're allowed to touch the ground in a hazard as long as nothing is done that constitutes testing the hazard. He clearly didn't test the hazard. It was totally just for balance, which -- I even called the USGA just to make sure that my decision was correct and had it confirmed with Jeff Hall that what Stewart did in that circumstance would not be a penalty. I've had that a few times in my career and fought very hard to get that to a no-penalty situation when it's done for balance, and that was the end result.

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