Rule 1: Masters Sunday always promising

There are the Rules of Golf, voluminous codes that have been parsed like biblical verses this week at the Masters.

But did you know about the unwritten rules, like the ones in play as the weekend blossomed on a crystal blue Georgia afternoon?

Unwritten Rule 10-3c: Sunday at the Masters shall be one of the great days in golf.

This one promises to comply fully.

By the close of moving day Saturday, five of the top 10 players in the world were positioned at the lead or within five strokes of it. Three other top-30 players were in the group. The leaderboard was covered with gravitas.

“It’s going to be an amazing Sunday again at the Masters,” promised Adam Scott, who at 6-under 210 is a stroke behind the lead of Brandt Snedeker and 2009 Masters champion Angel Cabrera.

At stake is the making of careers, that’s all. “Tomorrow is what I’ve worked my whole life for,” Snedeker said Saturday after his third consecutive sub-par round (69). “I’m really excited about what tomorrow holds.”

Unwritten Rule 1-1a: Tiger Woods shall not be written off.

Woods already has been through a scandal that would make Charlie Sheen blush. Did you really think that a little rules controversy was going to unhinge him?

Having been part of the most infamous drop since the 1929 stock-market crash, Woods chose not to disqualify himself either before or during Saturday’s third round. He went from three strokes off the lead to five back while he slept the night before. Yet he birdied the first hole he looked at Saturday — and made a round-saving 12-footer on 18 for par that an otherwise distracted man would have whiffed.

Oh, and what did he do on No. 15 when he revisited the scene of the crime Saturday? A ho-hum two-putt birdie.

Without the two-stroke penalty that Woods was assessed for the improper drop he took at No. 15 on Friday, he would be just two off the lead. If the flagstick had not swatted his shot into the drink and set that whole weird scenario in motion, he would have been even closer. Even with all that buzzard’s luck on a single hole, he remains a factor.

“I’m right there in the ballgame,” Woods said.

You debate whether he should have been DQ’d for his misdeed. Woods does not dabble publicly in matters of conscience.

Unwritten Rule 1-4b: Winning — or at least the continued possibility of such — will fix everything at polite Augusta National.

As Woods launched his round Saturday afternoon, the jury of Masters patrons proclaimed him duly punished and fully rehabilitated. They cheered loudly his every step down the wide green avenue of the first fairway, and kept it up all the way around.

A lot of “Go Tiger!” And no, “Go Home Tiger!”

Scorn is not allowed through these well-guarded gates.

Unwritten Rule 34-4-1c: Otherwise known as the Australian rule, whereby no one born in a former penal colony is allowed to win the Masters.

This may be the most promising year yet to repeal that unfair, restrictive understanding. The Aussies are here in force, and making loud demands. Three of them — Marc Leishman, Scott, and Jason Day — are among the top five on the leaderboard.

Scott and Day have contended here before; and Leishman must be taken seriously as he has hung around so determinedly for three days.

The pressure of trying to win one for Australia is “just a fact; you can’t not deal with that,” Scott said. “We’ve got another great chance. Three of us right there knocking on the door tomorrow. Not a better time to never have to deal with that question again if one of us goes out and play well.”

“The Aussie’s are a proud sporting people — we’d like to put another notch in our belt.”

Unwritten Rule 50-plus: The aging process is to be reversed for one week a year in April.

Where Fred Couples, 53, wobbled a bit Saturday, shooting only his third over-par round in the past four years (77), Bernhard Langer, 55, stepped up. His 72 left him at 2 under at the tournament and with the status of low European.

“It’s going to happen that a senior player is going to win a major championship,” Langer said.

Probably won’t happen here this year, but this setting just has a way of bringing out an old lion’s last roars.

The Rules of Golf can be stilted and dry, fuel for wonks. It is such unwritten ones, the understandings of what Sunday at the Masters might be, is what keeps the rest of the world watching.