Can't believe Sergio was accused

A player's caddie claims he cheated. Have you witnessed a golfing crime? Tell us on the forum.

Bob Warters's picture
Wed, 16 May 2007

Can't believe Sergio was accused

how not to cheat at golf
Sergio Garcia - accused over a ruling

Golf has created an almost cast iron reputation for being self-policing in a world where cheats rarely prosper, so to see Sergio Garcia's name mentioned in the same sentence as this most appalling of crimes, shocked me.

Allegedly, the caddie of one of his playing partners accused the young Spaniard of failing to admit to an incorrect drop from a drainage area next to the second green in the final round of The Players [Championship] at Sawgrass on Sunday.

"Cliff's [Kresge's] caddie wanted to make a big deal, but it wasn't," said Garcia, who birdied the hole on the way to second place in the event. "I took relief from the drainage. They were calling me a cheater. I've never cheated in my whole life. I'd rather shoot 85 than shoot 65 cheating."

Garcia admitted he took a while to calm down. "I felt a little bit of adrenaline going through my body," he added.

In my 35 years playing this game I haven't knowingly cheated, though I expect nearly all of us have broken the rules through ignorance and it hasn't been picked up by playing partners. However, I have no doubt that all of us has witnessed cheating of some description but rather than saying something at the time (never been quite sure of the reaction we would get) have turned a blind eye, which effectively makes us complicit in breaking the Rules and therefore equally guilty and subject to disqualification.

One incident still haunts me from 30 years ago. Playing in my club's 36-hole Open my ball finished on the 18th green but next to a rabbit scrape on the edge of the green hampering my stance. I asked my playing partners for relief to which they agreed and I putted out to share the clubhouse lead at halfway.

However, several others had noticed the incident from the clubhouse window and reported my moving the ball and replacing it. As a relatively new golfer I suffered several minutes of interrogation before it was agreed and I hadn't breached the Rules. Despite my innocence, several hours later I was still troubled that my integrity had been questioned and consequently failed dismally to maintain my form.

Since then I have heard tales of golfers - on the face of it upstanding citizens - nudging the ball into better lies with their shoe, pressing down tufts of grass with their clubhead to clear a path to it in the throughswing and tossing an extra coin on to the green nearer the hole and replacing their ball alongside it, accordingly.

I'm sure there are many more stories Golfmagic members can relate of antics by fellow golfers to gain an advantage, including doctoring the scorecard, performing under a false handicap and tamping down spike marks (but that's another story!)

I would be amazed if Senor Garcia transgressed the Rules, especially with having such a heritage of a father Victor as a professional and knowing the third eye of televison cameras covering a sport in similar detail to CCTV in your local Sainsbury's.

Golf continues to remain one of the few sports where participants will call a penalty on themselves and I shall be proud to introduce my grandchildren to it when they're a little older.