Elliot Saltman will undoubtedly face a hard time now his ban for cheating is up. The Scot is now free to return after serving a three-month suspension in which he missed just one event.
Ernie Els is the leading name to speak out against the decision to allow the 29-year-old – banned for incorrectly marking his ball – to return so soon.
“That doesn’t seem right - the punishment should fit the crime,” said the South African. “I think he will be in for a hard time from other players.”
“Maybe some leniency was shown because it was a first offence but if you play professional golf you should know how to mark a ball on the green.
“If he doesn’t know he needs to be taught.”
Twelve events have been played since the ban was imposed in January, but because of his lowly ranking, Saltman has only missed last month’s Sicilian Open.
Saltman did not appeal the ban, but said: “I want to get back to playing as quickly as I can because playing is the best way to show people I am not a cheat.
“It has been a terrible few months. I have worked all my life to be a professional golfer and I love the game.
“To have people who don’t know me and who know nothing about me go out in the media and question my honesty is really hurtful.
“To be accused of being a cheat is a terrible stigma and sadly is one I will almost certainly have to carry for the rest of my life.”
Saltman earned his Tour card by finishing 28th at Q-School and is a lowly reserve for next week’s Volvo China Open and the Ballantine’s Championship in Korea so will more than likely have to put his return on hold until the Spanish Open in Barcelona on May 5.