The last few months of the PGA Tour golf has provided us all some great highlights and history making golf. The sad news is that it has also given us very controversial discussions about cheating in golf. Tiger Woods was accused of illegal drops and moving the ball. Now Simon Dyson caught tapping down spike marks on the green and in the line of his putt…which if you didn't know is against the rules. Again, this was all brought to light by a viewer watching the video coverage. What is the world coming to? OMG…come on people lets be serious.
First lets discuss the term cheating. I think the word implies the intentional breaking of rules and/or morals. The key to that would be intent. Someone tell me how we determine someones intent? If anyone can really read the minds of the golfers accused of cheating then let me know. So what that leaves us is having to interpret what we think the golfers intent was by watching and reviewing their actions both past and present and identify trends. We can watch the videos all we want but there is no way of really knowing the golfers intent. I would propose that the person simply made a mistake or didn't know the rules.
In the case of Tiger Woods, he has every shot and every move he makes on video or under the scrutiny of media and fans. HOW COULD HE POSSIBLY CHEAT AND EVER THINK HE COULD GET AWAY WITH IT? Golf analysts like Brandel Chamblee and Johnny Miller who have implied that Tiger cheated are simply trying to create a buzz and bring more attention to themselves. Don't get me wrong…I am not saying that there are no cheaters in golf. I am sure that there are times during every tournament that someone does something that breaks the rules and I am sure some are intentional. However, I would bet that the numbers are so small that they don't even matter. The penalty in pro golf for cheating is way too severe.
So where does cheating happen in golf? EVERY DAY on EVERY Golf course in the world by 90% or more of the amateurs playing. Yes, I said it…you are all cheaters. I would be willing to bet that every one of you has at one time or another rationalized in your mind…"the ball barely moved", "it won't matter", "nobody saw me", "who cares I won't break 100 today anyway". At other times maybe you didn't know the rules so you played on without knowing. Is ignorance of the rules a good excuse?
In the long run who gets to judge who is the cheater? I think we all have to look at ourselves first and if we can say we play 100% by the rules then feel free to judge away. If you are PGA Tour pro feel free to judge your fellow competitors during competition. If you are a retired golfer trying to use your media credentials to sway the public and you simply want to stir up controversy for no reason other than your own publicity…then STOP wasting your breath!
Go Big Golf