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Golf Australia Express : November 2013
decision-making from him: • At the start of the year in Abu Dhabi, he took a drop for a plugged ball off the fairway. All tours extend ‘embedded ball relief’ through the green, but not in sandy surfaces or hazards. Wood’s ball was plugged off the fairway in a sandy area. This rules breach in isolation was considered a brain fade. • At the Masters he should have stared down The Masters rules committee that cleared him to play on the weekend and politely declined the offer that flew in the face of over 150 years of tournament golf. Most observers— with the exception of Tiger’s closest friends on Tour, the host TV network and family—thought the right thing to do was to sit out the weekend at Augusta after signing an incorrect score card. He played on. • At the Players Championship Tiger hooked one into a hazard left of the fairway. After consulting his playing partner he dropped his ball—what many thought—a long way up the hole. Replays and much debate from commentators suggested he wasn’t exactly ‘conservative’ with that drop either. Strangely, no rules official was consulted. • And finally, at the BMW Championship in what proved the final straw for many in judging Woods’ intentions, Woods' ball was seen to move as he attempted to remove debris from around it from under a tree. He didn’t call a penalty on himself saying he did not see it move, and when shown vision of the incident he protested the ball ‘oscillated’ rather than ‘moved’. The way I see it, golf demands a noble world No.1 and I’m not sure we have one at the moment. And fans of the game should feel cheated about that. OTG HOW IS it possible that Tiger Woods won five times on the PGA Tour, took out the Vardon Trophy with a scoring average of 68.98 and still had a year that makes me cringe when I think about it? It took a largely tongue-in-cheek piece from outspoken Golf Channel analyst Brandel Chamblee for most of us to review the world No.1’s season more closely. In an October column for Golf.com where Chamblee graded a host of PGA Tour players on their season, he wrote that Woods “was a little cavalier with the rules” , crossing out an initial score of 100 and giving him an ‘F’. In his assessment of Woods, Chamblee related a story of his childhood in which he was caught cheating on a maths test. Even though he would later apologise to Woods for his comments, the point was made... brilliantly. Chamblee’s anecdote was one I related to. As a 13-year-old playing in my second junior event I remember clearing leaves and a few twigs from around my ball on the 5th hole. It moved. It moved at least half a roll—a clear breach of the rules. Yet, I didn’t tell my playing partner and I didn’t put the ball back in its original position. Nobody else saw it happen. By about the time I made the turn I was feeling so sick I could hardly breathe. The horribly embarrassing score that followed and the sick feeling in my guts ensured three things in my golfing journey: 1. I never cheated again. (No medal required for that one); 2. Any time I was the “umpire” in a situation on the golf course I became conservative with any rules outcome that affected my score. (I was fearful of being labelled anything but a fair player); and 3. I always thought others would feel those same sick feelings if an indiscretion occurred. (Not so sure any more.) In my mind it’s clear that Tiger Woods was not caught cheating this year, but there has been some rather worrying WE NEED A WORLD NO.1 PLAYER WHO NOT ONLY UPHOLDS THE RULES OF GOLF, BUT ALSO THE SPIRIT OF THE GAME, WRITES MARK ALLEN. TELL US YOUR THOUGHTS with Mark Allen MARCO'S MUSE OPINION the TIGER NO CHEAT, BUT IS HE A NOBLE 1?
October 2013 - United Colours of Golf