Nobody has ever played the game perfectly, and this episode does not mean the decline of civilization as we know it. Nicklaus will sometimes, in intimate settings, tell the story of how he was playing out of a bunker in the 1974 British Open when he possibly hit himself with his own ball. A rules official told him he had not, and Nicklaus went with that out of selfish convenience. To this day Nicklaus is not sure the ball did not hit him, and he's bothered by it. Someday Woods may be bothered by what he did last week.
In the meantime, golf should celebrate Scott's beautiful win at Augusta, with an anchored putting method that is the target of a proposed ban by golf's governing bodies but 100% legal, at least for now. And even if that ban comes to pass, and it likely will, there will be no asterisk of any sort on Scott's major title. Had Woods won, would you say the same?
In the victor's 27-minute press conference, the name Tiger Woods was not mentioned once. Scott talked about his father (Phil), his mother (Pam), his caddie (Steve Williams), his mentor (Greg Norman), his playoff foe ("Angel is a great man.... I think he's a gentleman"), the spectators.
"Going down the 10th fairway was almost deafening," said Scott, the runner-up at last year's British Open, where he squandered a four-shot lead over the final four holes. He was talking about the second, and last, playoff hole at Augusta. "It was a great feeling."
He was with the crowd—in the dark, in the rain—and the crowd was with him. If he likes, next year at the Champions Dinner, Adam Scott can tell Tiger Woods all about it.