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Saltman's ban highlights golf code of honour

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Iain Carter | 12:21 UK time, Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Abu Dhabi

All four 2010 major winners and the world number one are competing in the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship this week but all the talk in the build-up surrounds a player who does not even register on the current world rankings.

Elliot Saltman's three-month ban for what has been termed a "serious breach" of the rules at last year's Russian Challenge Cup raises difficult issues for the game.

That it has become the major topic of conversation on the eve of a tournament that boasts such a stellar cast list serves to show how seriously transgressions of golf's rules are taken within the game.

As Lee Westwood pointed out: "You don't see us jumping in the referee's face when something goes wrong and waving our fingers at him trying to get the other player on the other side of the fairway carded. You don't see us missing a putt and diving.

"I don't think there is a place for cheating in golf, or sport, for that matter," the world number one added.

In Saltman's case, it was the alleged repeated gaining of maybe a centimetre on the putting green that brought him before the Tournament Committee in Abu Dhabi.

Elliot Saltman of Scotland

Saltman plays out of a bunker at the Johannesburg Open - photo: Getty

The 28-year-old Scot was disqualified from the Russian event when his playing partners, Stuart Davies and Marcus Higley, reported him for continually replacing his ball incorrectly. They refused to sign his card and, after a meeting with referee Gary Butler, Saltman was thrown out of the tournament.

Banning any player and thus depriving them of their livelihood for any period of time is a serious matter, with all sorts of potential legal ramifications, and Saltman has 28 days to appeal to the Tour Board.

The way such matters are dealt with is not altogether clear. There is currently no set disciplinary procedure on the European Tour and the committee was working with little in the way of precedent when they dealt with Saltman.

He was being judged by his peers - fellow players who form the body responsible for Tour policy - and it is clear the committee felt the need to punish someone who had been judged to have broken the rules.

In the past, draconian punishments have been handed down, although the last ban to be handed out was back in 1992, when Swede Johan Tumba was accused of altering his scorecard at qualifying school and banned for 10 years, a suspension subsequently reduced to three.

Scottish professional David Robertson received a 20-year ban after being accused of moving his ball marker 15 feet nearer the hole during an Open qualifier in 1985.

There are cases where apparent breaches have not resulted in bans. The infamous "Jakarta-gate" incident involving Colin Montgomerie merely resulted in the committee expressing their "dissatisfaction" with the Scot.

Mark O'Meara was also belatedly accused of moving his ball closer to the hole en route to victory at the Lancome Trophy in 1997.

The difference in Saltman's case is that, even though there was no video evidence, he was disqualified at the time of the incident, on the evidence of his playing partners.

This is the heart of the matter. Each player is responsible for protecting the entire field when they are asked to mark the card of an opponent.

By and large, the system works because it does not allow for players trying to cheat an official referee or umpire, an often accepted practice in other sports. Footballers might dive for a penalty, a batsman may stand his ground after edging to a wicket-keeper or a forward might pull down a rugby scrum.

None of these actions would routinely attract the attention of a disciplinary committee.

Most professional golf is played with referees who are only there to offer rulings when a player is not sure how to proceed or to ensure groups play to time.

Essentially, a golfer is asked to play to the satisfaction of his opponents, which means those who seem to try to take an illegal advantage soon acquire an unwanted reputation in the locker room. The stigma is hard to shift.

Golf's reputation for fair play is its calling card and that is why the committee has taken such a dim view of Saltman.

However, there is something uncomfortable about players sitting in judgement of each other, particularly with no established code in place.

This is likely to change soon. It is understood the committee want to set up a separate disciplinary panel for future cases and this move is likely to be put before the players' annual general meeting later this year.

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 2.

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  • Comment number 3.

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  • Comment number 4.

    Re: Return_of_THE_Shango
    Do you own half a brain cell? You are condoning cheating!?
    P.S. Golf is a sport actually.

  • Comment number 5.

    #1 I normally don't pass comment, on these articles, more out of laziness, but you have woken me from my slumber! That is possibly the worst comment I have seen in any BBC blog! Congratulations.

    In reference to the article, hopefully this'll teach him and he won't I am pretty certain ever do it again. Everyone makes mistakes but one as petty as a few inches is just stupid on his part and deserves the punishment because of cheating has no place in golf.

  • Comment number 6.

    Don't want to kick someone when they're down however played with Elliott at liberton golf club as a junior. Boy could hit the ball a long way and played a lot of golf. However, was accused on many occasions of cheating, in particular improving his lie. And my dad always said he was only cheating himself!
    Hope this sticks, he would have known what he was doing

  • Comment number 7.

    Return of the Shango became well known for posting absolute drivel on the cricket boards during the ashes.
    Some things never change!! Cheating has no place in the sport. Hope he learns his lesson.

  • Comment number 8.

    Return of the Shango. I have just had a read over a few of the comments that you have written in the past and after reading it I am no longer surprised that you would think that cheating is a good thing. In your eyes where should it stop? how far would your moral compass allow? Should sportsman take drugs? In your obvious plethora of sporting experiance and knowledge why should cheating be allowed? I would ask that you think before you answer so you might reply with something that has some value unlike your previous comments I have read.

  • Comment number 9.

    #1 - What a ridiculous comment. Cheating is nothing more then admitting your not good enough to beat the opposition on a level playing field. Cheating is forever being condoned on a football pitch, how does that match up with your argument?

    Fact of the matter is that, despite golfs many flaws with many old fashion clubs and outdated rules (ladies day, knee length socks required, old duds who think that because they are a member of a club it makes them better then someone who isnt, etc) - this is one of the reasons I love the game. A cheater has been exposed and hugely embarrassed.

  • Comment number 10.

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  • Comment number 11.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 12.

    Your wrong, the game is not more interesting - meaningful matches with lots of quality play and chances makes it interesting. Golf is more interesting when the players are closely matched, the stakes are high and every shot counts - the Ryder Cup, Majors prime examples.

    Football has improved because the foreign players are more technically adept, the pitches have improved and the rules are now more lenient, to suggest its down to diving...care to back this up with reason or can we just assume you dont know what your talking about?

    Judging by your other comments you are nothing more then a WUM and your proving yourself to be nothing more then a fool.

  • Comment number 13.

    Ah Papa Shango, glad to see you are WUMing on blogs other than cricket. Top effort

  • Comment number 14.

    Haha. Don't get too wound up....I think it's pretty clear Return_of_THE_Shango is just sat at home trying to think of ways to get in peoples faces.

    Kind of weird though.

  • Comment number 15.

    ROTS first off cheating and bending the rules are two different things. Second is it only sporting rules that can be 'bent' how about a little theft, is that ok? A little sexual assault?
    It shows a lack of class to cheat. Obviously something that doesn't mean alot to you but it takes away from the true beauty of sport. And how it shows what can be acheived in life. unlike your narrowmindedness some people understand that sport actually does something for people from all walks of life. “I would prefer even to fail with honor than to win by cheating”

  • Comment number 16.

    As others have said there is no room in golf for cheats. This case will hopefully serve as an example that not even apparently insignificant indiscretions will be tolerated. It's normally symptomatic of worse behaviour that probably hasn't been caught or reported before, so I wouldn't be surprised if other tales of cheating by this individual don't surface soon. We all know who the cheats are at our clubs. They are normally tolerated but despised. This punishment is insufficient though. He will miss little golf and be playing on the tour this summer. However, having been found guilty and pronounced a cheat by his peers, he will always be damaged goods, and will have to continue his career forever tarnished as a cheat.

  • Comment number 17.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 18.

    Return of The Shango, he moved the ball a few cm's i suppose you think it would of been better if he had just picked the ball up and placed it on the hole? What a ridiculous comment to make

  • Comment number 19.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 20.

    Glad to hear of this punishment being dished out. As a previous post mentioned this Saltman had a history of cheating in his amateur days. Let's hope he learns from it as if he does make it up the professional ladder there won't be anywhere to hide.

  • Comment number 21.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 22.

    Oh my goodness. I have never read anything as stupid in all my life as ALL comments made by Return_of_THE_Shango.

    Return_of_THE_Shango, have you ever been a professional sportsman? Do you know how it feels to cheat against someone and win? Do you know how it feels to be cheated against?

    Your way of thinking is STUPID!

  • Comment number 23.

    Responding to Return of the Shango's comments are exactly what he wants...the oxygen of publicity etc, however, I agree its a shame he has hi-jacked an interesting topic. I like the idea of a sport that is largely policed by the very people who play it, cheating seems to be an admission that you aren't quite good enough to beat your opponent fairly and in that respect I agree with Return of the Shango, golf is stuck in another century and so much the better for it.

  • Comment number 24.

    Nice comment seniorshaky, I had not thought of it in that way before, that it is golfs historic values that keep it honest. Much rather that than the cheating that has ruined other sports. Btw can't believe how many people are biting for that other clown, your making his day by responding in anger. Ignore it and it'll go away.

  • Comment number 25.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 26.

    ROTS comment #10 Moving a ball & getting away with it should be something to be proud of.

    Did you bother reading the article before making your uninformed comment? The whole article is about the fact that he moved the ball and DIDN'T get away with it!!!

  • Comment number 27.

    Good blog, Iain. And very subtly navigated around any potential comebacks.

    One of the great things about the sport is the spirit in which it's played, and I hope the fear of legal action doesn't drive the Tour to overreact with any future system. Peer respect and monitoring are values which are an integral part of the game.

  • Comment number 28.

    It seems to me that Shango's comments are either designed to provoke or display a lack of ability at sport in general which leads to a necessity to cheat. Golf is not only a sport but an incredibly skillful one at the top level. Self regulation at all levels of the game requires a high level of discipline, respect for the game and one's fellow competitors unlike many other "popular" sports where cheating has now become an accepted skill. Shango is more to be pitied than scolded I can assure you!

  • Comment number 29.

    guys you are just encouraging shango by reacting to his comments.his comments say more about him than they do about the subject.just ignore him.hes doing it to get a reaction and its working.i shall say no more!!!

  • Comment number 30.

    as to the incident i have no sympathy for saltman.we would all love to play golf for a living,why ruin it for the sake of a cm or 2.mind you i wish my regular playing partner cheated as little as that.he can go through 10 balls in a round and not have a single penalty.lol.

  • Comment number 31.

    return of the shango

    you are joking I hope - as honesty underpins everything just because footballers cheat some sports (rugby and golf to name two) thrive because they still represent decency in an ever changing cynical society

  • Comment number 32.

    #5 - you obviously didnt read any of the ashes threads- apparently the game was on a knife edge when england had a 350 run lead. ROTS is a WUM but not a good 1 as it has to be slightly believable/humerous. his comment are never either

  • Comment number 33.

    ROTS - Welcome to the golf boards!

    Delighted that you've found somewhere else to hang out after you failed so spectacularly in making any prescient or intelligent comments on the Ashes boards for two months!

    Guys - it's this simple. The poster in question will serve up some absolutely ridiculous tripe for everyone else to 'bite' on - I'd recommend not doing so, but it's all up to you...

  • Comment number 34.

    Ah, Shango, so you've decided to poison a decent golf blog with your inane drivel after embarassing yourself on the Ashes. I would love to be able to ignore your putrid spoutings, but you really do make me sick with the uneducated, unknowing bile that oozes from your keyboard. You really are a hateful piece of work, and rest assured every single person who reads your gibberish thinks you a the worst type of person - ignorant, ignoble and immoral. Some, possibly like Smudger, pretend that you're some form of pubescent who is trying to be be weirdly entertaining, but most of us know you as you are; a sad, lonely weirdo, who's only means of communicating with others is online. We know what you do when you want a lady, Shango...we know what you do...

  • Comment number 35.

    is no 1 winding us up

    the worst and most pathetic comment i have ever read anywhere in my whole life
    3 month ban

  • Comment number 36.

    please ignore him....

  • Comment number 37.

    as for lloyd
    why would any one do that unless hes been doing it all his golfing life and its become natural to him that it doesnt register as unacceptable.

    golf is 80% mental so i guess we can summise a bit about his state of mind

    i think he rather be well liked and freinds with tour players and have an average career than known for this type of thing

    but hes in a pretty list now with suspisions

    on omeara,montgomerie and singh who werent banned
    and now robertson,that swede and saltman who were

    now that says something








    f

  • Comment number 38.

    No doubt the Mods are going to get rid of my previous post about Shango, as he will go running to them like a little child as he has done when i have previously posted my comments concerning him.

  • Comment number 39.

    i played with a guy once who drove in the rough (daily mail foursomes it was) and i saw the general area 20 yards past a tree his partner went to find it and he it 40 yerds further on thought thats not where it ended up and then hit it to 3 feet the other guy holed won he hole we lost 2& 1 and i questioned it but presumed took richochet but to this day 28 years on stil think hmmmm

  • Comment number 40.

    Congrats on the two players who reported him, thats not an easy thing to do and would have caused a lot of stress to the 2 guys. Saltman's lucky he only got 3 months.
    There is no place for cheating. Period
    #37 Singh got banned for 2 years

  • Comment number 41.

    #1 Have you ever considered doing 'stand up'.
    Seriously though, back in the '70s (the days when women's football was still banned by the FA) I was a mad keen and talented, but very frustrated footballer. During an argument over whether I should be able to play school football alongside the boys, a PE teacher asked me if I'd be prepared to deliberately injure an opponent, in order to win. When I said no, he answered "There you are - girls can't play sport with boys" So, at least one head PE teacher, in Essex in the 1970's, considered deliberately injuring an opponent (in a school level sports match) a perfectly legitimate tactic.

  • Comment number 42.

    Golf is one of the few sports where cheating is not tolerated. Return_of_THE_Shango's comments while being ridicules and immature, do show how low some people are prepared to stoop in order to gain success.

    No sport is totally immune from cheating. Thankfully incidents in golf are far and few between, and when cheating does occur or even those suspected of doing so, the mud sticks!

    Golf may well be draconian and in the dark ages, but I would rather watch and play it than any other sport.

    I do feel for Elliot Saltman, but if his acts were beyond suspicion in the first place, surely nothing would have come of his case.



  • Comment number 43.

    Shango that is some world class WUMing - look how many people you got to bite.

    I raise my glass to you fella - the WUM hall of fame awaits...

  • Comment number 44.

    34. At 10:30pm on 19 Jan 2011, Bear wrote:
    Some, possibly like Smudger, pretend that you're some form of pubescent who is trying to be be weirdly entertaining, but most of us know you as you are; a sad, lonely weirdo, who's only means of communicating with others is online. We know what you do when you want a lady, Shango...we know what you do...
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Get off your high horse. If you think I am applauding his comments then you are very much mistaken, so don't drag my name into it. I know what he is and I recognise that. What I don't do is bite like so many have. That's what ruins the blogs, not necessarily PSAR/ROTS comments. If the other bloggers didn't respond so eagerly to his/her wind ups he would disappear. Simples!

  • Comment number 45.

    #43 - now that comment I agree with ;o)

  • Comment number 46.

    Return_of_THE_Shango - Trollface.jpg comes to mind!

    Ha! And yet he still gets a few scalps, you got admire his persistence, First it was The Ashes now golf, your branching out fella!

  • Comment number 47.

    Although I dont agree with the moral sentiment at all with Return of the Shango

    I have to say he has a point in that sport has changed from something which contains honour dignity and the best side or player winning.

    It now is all about winning and results and people will do anything to do that, hence drugs in sport, sports science and all other ways of manaufacturing success. Where as before it was all about raw talent and determination and practise.

    So as much as you all hate what hes saying, ITS JUST THE WAY SPORT IS NOW and luckily for golf thats not the case!

  • Comment number 48.

    "Moving a ball & getting away with it should be something to be proud of."
    Point is, Return of the Whatsit, He didn't get away with it!!

  • Comment number 49.

    #37 - be careful - it is Elliot we are talking about, not Lloyd - there has never, to my knowledge, ever been a question mark over his approach to the game, whereas for Elliot the whispering has followed him for years and has only now been opened up to broader appeal by the fact he was caught on a European sanctioned event (albeit on the second tier tour) and has now been dealt with in the full public glare.

    Typical European Tour though - no insight into proceedings, case for the defence, deliberations etc, just a bland statement. Expect an appeal, lots of chatter about the procedure being unfair (current players passing judgement on current players).

  • Comment number 50.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 51.

    #6
    Yeh elliot and his brothers actually left my home club in edinburgh after a member caught elliot cheating. There is also questioned asked about the other brothers aswell but as far as i know nothing of any substance.

    Shame cos i have seen him play/ played behind him a few times and he hits it a bloody mile and seemed to have a decent short game aswell. Should hopefully stop the next batch of young amatuers from cheating or at least provide a deterrent. Would maybe make the ban longer though just to drive home the point...

  • Comment number 52.

    It now is all about winning and results and people will do anything to do that, hence drugs in sport, sports science and all other ways of manaufacturing success.

    -----------------

    Indeed, which is why I still rate The Busby Babes ahead of any side Fergie has produced, Jack Nicklaus ahead of Tiger Woods and todays cricketers a pale shadow of the Clive Lloyds, Colin Cowdreys and Richie Benauds of the past.

    We are all programmed to want everything faster and flashier these days. Maybe the premiership and the IPL are more exciting but they also come loaded with baggage and leave a sour taste in the mouth.

    I congratulate Golf on it's stance, maybe if football was a bit more like golf it would regain some of it's lost credibility.

  • Comment number 53.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 54.

    Iain,

    Why are Golfers so good at this when other sportsmen do tend to try and bend the rules so much. OK in teams sports self policing is almost impossible as there are so many judgement calls - even in the TV studio with many angles and replays it's sometimes impossible for folks to agree. Like wise in cricket a bowler doesn't know he's bowled a no-ball, a basman doesn't know if the ball is hitting the stump for an lbw and a fielder doesn't always know 100% if a catch has carried.

    In individual sports such as tennis the levels of sportsmanship are still high but again for line decisions at speed the players are not always in the best position to see if a ball is in or out - as proven by the success of the Hawkeye system although this is becoming open to abuse with players challenging obvious calls 'just in case' or to delay their opponents rhythm.

    Snooker and Golf stand alone as the two sports where self regulation works. What they have in common is that both are 'static' sports i.e. between each shot there is time for any rulings to take place. Is this what makes the participants more likely to consider the morality and consequences of their actions?

  • Comment number 55.

    I believe the incident is more serious than is being portrayed. It's not that the ball was maybe a cm or two closer when he put his ball back, the issue was when he moved his marker for the other players to play he replaced it (putter) at 90degrees meaning that the ball was a good 7 to 10cm closer to the hole each time and this happened at least five times.

    Now as a proud Scot I am embarrassed to the core and feel for his golfing family, but on the evidence of not one but two fellow Pro's, the punishment should at least equal that handed down to David Robertson. His Tour Professional career should be over. There is no room in the sport for CHEATS!

  • Comment number 56.

    Return_of_THE_Shango = EGG!

  • Comment number 57.

    Twenty years ago, I played in a Singles' Final in Perthshire. I lost, but I knew fine that my opponent cheated halfway round in that he suddenly 'found' his ball about ten yards into the rough from where we both knew 'the original ball'went in!
    I met in with him again last year, and he eventually admitted "You know that I cheated during that game, didn't you? I have been feeling bad about it ever since!" I gave him a little smile, and a knowing nod!
    That's the way it is, guys : your 'sins' will, in time, knaw away at you all, and find you out!
    No matter what some of you say, I am pleased to play my best, and even to lose well (for that is the part of any game), than to play and to cheat my way round a course, only to become a so-called 'winner' for a day's glory!
    I'm glad I now play with guys who have an in-built code of good conduct; whose company I always enjoy, and, no matter who wins, we have a great time together, at the 19th hole!

  • Comment number 58.

    One of the numptys comments caused me to recall a thought I had when I watched an interview with Tom Watson last week, he was referring to one of the many duels he had with the Bear. He noted how, when winning one of his opens when Jack was his playing partner and closest rival, how hard and fierce the Bear had fought but he posessed the stature to put his arm around Toms shoulder at the end in defeat and tell him he had given all he had but Tom was too good on the day.

    This report put to the sword the old saying "Show me a good loser and I'll show you a loser", because Jack Nicklaus was a winner but as he demonstrated when he gave Jacklin his 4 footer, to halve their Ryder cup rubber, he was the epitome of the noble warrior.

    Finally the reason honesty and truthfullness prevails in golf is the environment within which it is learned and played. Whereas within football a cheat is regarded as a jack the lad, in golf a cheat is regarded as a pariah and outcast. This is why the jury has missed the point when they only banned the guy for 3 months, he should have been sine dide and thrown out of the game but I suspect the jury feared legal repercussions and took the easy option.

  • Comment number 59.

    Ahem. return of the Shango has sucessfully trolled quite a lot of people here...

    If you are going to ban someone, I think you really need more eveidence than the word of other players.

  • Comment number 60.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 61.

    Iain, how much cheating do you think there is in golf? Personally I think there's is more than we think, not a lot but because it takes 2 or more witnesses to make a case, quite a bit goes unchallenged.
    I have seen quite a bit over the years and it sickens me to the stomach. But what can I do if no one else has seen it?
    It also takes a lot of courage to report it and I take my hat off to the 2 Pro's who did.
    The game needs to be cleaner than clean and unlike most sports you never see cheating at golf on tv. And because of that it mainly rubs off on the people who take the game up.

  • Comment number 62.

    3 months ban and all the humiliation is plenty for the offense. They dont need to go down the road of destroying his career over it.

  • Comment number 63.

    Hello Ian,

    Your blog hints at raising an interesting point - who watches the watchers?

    I believe the Tour being regulated in this way by peers works because players don't want the locker room stigma that you mention (and the undoubted knock-on effect that would have re sponsorship, invites, etc.). However, there can be scope for players on that committee to be particularly vindictive to some and not other players (for whatever reason) which may explain the discrepancy in the penal discipline you also note. Moving that to an independent body may have merits but would the "code" have to be agreed by the participants or just placed upon them?

    Other sports seem to suffer from cheating due to the pressures of the financial stakes of success (i.e. win = millions, 2nd = disproportionately less, 10th = thanks for turning up, etc.). Whilst golf *can* be a phenomenally financially rewarding vocation, you don't have to be a world beater to make a decent living at it (I believe Seve once complained that "finishing 20th every week shouldn't guarantee you a living"), therefore the *need* to cheat is reduced that little bit or passed over to the players who are, frankly, not good enough to cut it at that living-making level.

  • Comment number 64.

    #52 & #53 ummm its sport, it is exactly about winning!!

    Its those that think its not about winning and about money etc etc that bring sports down. A real sportsman where winning is their motivation does not include cheating to win as actually winning.


  • Comment number 65.

    #55 Thanks for your explanation GREGlynn. I couldn't understand what difference moving the ball 1 cm would make, but it makes more sense now.

  • Comment number 66.

    Not sure whether to feel sorry or angry. Regardless of whether or not he appeals and is found not guilty, or doesnt appeal and serves his time, he will be stained forever. Regardless of the career he has from now, he will forever be known for this incident. I find myself feeling sorry for him on this point. As for sympathy, well, this is in short supply. This was apparently not one moment of madness, but a series. You cant claim he didnt plan what he was doing.

    I am fascinated about how the game of golf attracts such strong moral correctness among the majority its players. I posted on a previous golf blog (the Ian Poulter penalty that stopped him winning) about a regular playing partner and friend who is an ex-professional footballer. I saw him play regularly and found myself wincing with embarassment at his dirty style of play added to an entirely guilt free attitude to not just bending the rules but taking an angle grinder to them. The same person playing golf, calls himself for double hits that no one could possibly see, accidentally moving the ball in deep rough, again that no one could possibly see, discovering that he had played the wrong ball for two holes, again no one except him noticed. He had the same incredible will to win in both games, one however was at all costs, the other was not. He and I have talked about it and he recognises the contradiction, the only thing we can come up with is peer pressure.

    One further point. I think the reason why you never see cheating on tv is answered in the statement, because it is on TV. The players know perfectly well that the chances of getting away with anything are slim, therefore any who are tempted (a very small minority in all probability)would not take the risk. Add on the numbers of people watching and you have a very effect deterrent.

  • Comment number 67.

    I can't stand cheating in any form.
    I'm glad Golf has done this.
    Greatest golfer ever = Tiger Woods
    And Tiger Woods has NEVER cheated.

  • Comment number 68.

    This incident took place last September before tour school where he went on to gain his Tour card! If he had been banned before this and not played in tour school 20 other players would have qualified for the final two rounds and would have had a chance to secure their card I wonder how they feel!!!!!!!

  • Comment number 69.

    67. At 12:59pm on 20 Jan 2011, Cantonas Starched Collar wrote:
    I can't stand cheating in any form.
    I'm glad Golf has done this.
    Greatest golfer ever = Tiger Woods
    And Tiger Woods has NEVER cheated.
    -----------------

    At Golf anyway

  • Comment number 70.

    #69,Adam ha ha.

    Pay no attention to Papa Shango,he's just a wum that takes pleasure in getting people to bite.

  • Comment number 71.

    Afternoon Mr Jacks

    Can you imagine if they brought this punsihment in for people nicking an extra few yards at throw-ins and free-kicks. There would be no football after 3 weeks

  • Comment number 72.

    I'm really rubbish at golf but play quite regularly with a couple of mates, one of whom plays off 10 whilst the other is even worse at golf than I am. I usually have several double digit scores in a round but it's amazing how the mate who can't hit a ball more than 50 yards, and that's along the ground, never seems to score more than 7 or 8 on any hole. There's no money at stake in our games and we don't even write our scores down but his antics really annoy the 10 handicapper and me and I just don't understand why he, or anyone else for that matter, does it.

    I'm glad the cheat got caught and banned. Rules are there for a reason. Break them and you'll get punished. Perhaps if other sports, mainly soccer, adopted a similar approach to cheating the world would be a slightly nicer place.

  • Comment number 73.

    #66 Cheating on tv..if thats the case biggles there are millions watching football and cricket but tv coverage is no way a deterrent in those sports

  • Comment number 74.

    Golf has always been known as "The game for Cheats"
    I,ve lost count of the number of times I pulled people up in the monthly medals, to nobody's satisfaction.
    As we always say we are protecting the whole of the field.

  • Comment number 75.

    Having played a lot of competitive golf I am in agreement with comment 74. 'Cheating' is rife in golf, mainly lie improvement or the old kicking a ball in the tree's or long rough, affectionately known as the leather wedge. Stuart Davis is a Top Golfer and a true professional, for him to refuse to sign Saltman's card speaks volumes. Mr Saltman is obviously very talented as you do not get through Qualifying School otherwise. But his name is tarnished for life and he will ruin other professionals games. Imagine being drawn with him, you'll be too conscious of what he's doing to worry about your own game, I personally would have handed a life Tour ban out. The guy who finished just outside the top 30 at QS(Chris Doak was one) must be gutted, having his place filled on tour by a cheat. No room for it in golf, set an example and get rid.

  • Comment number 76.

    I'm extremely surprised that so many people are writing support for this. When better known players do it, truthfully or not, they claim it was accidental and get a warning. Yet when a less well known player does it, with no video evidence, he gets a three month ban?

    It's a very sad precedent for golf, when two players could theoretically get someone banned simply because they don't like him or his demeanor on hear say. Not to mention that he is now forever stained by these allegations.

    If i was put on suspension for three months in ANY other job, based on the hearsay of two other employee's with no other evidence, i would rightfully be able to sue my employers.

  • Comment number 77.

    Of course, with Harrington, had the ball not moved (as he thought) and he then signed for an extra penalty 2 he would also have been disqualified. Because it moved infinitesimally, and didn't see that it had and so sign for an extra 2 he got disqualified. He couldn't win.

    Sometimes the rules are daft.

  • Comment number 78.

    #77 I don't think that is correct. As I understand it you won't be disqualified for signing for a higher score than you actually took.

  • Comment number 79.

    #73 - Absolutely thats because the penalty for cheating in golf is disqualification. In football, rugby, cricket etc the penalty for cheating is........ As we have seen today, the tiniest of errors will have someone, somewhere reaching for their phone, the result for what everyone has so far acknowledged as an honest mistake is disqualification. If all other sports took the draconian views of golf then there would be no cheating on TV.

    Reading my contribution again, I see that I should have made it clear that I was referring to cheating at golf on tv, it does read like i was referring to all sports.

    One other thing that occurs. Penalties for cheating in individual sports are a lot easier to deal with than in team sports. Anyone think of any individual sport where cheating is rife (ignoring the issue of drug cheats)?

  • Comment number 80.

    Saltman was reported and disciplined within the current framework and one of the by-products of that is that the framework is deemed to be inadequate and will be looked at.

    @76 you can't have video evidence for everything and you never used to have any so the testimony of two other professionals should hold great weight. Even in football the extra officials are extra human witnesses.

    What makes Harrington's situation a complete joke is that someone sitting at home watching on TV can phone in and influence a game, a tournament, someone's living etc. in a way you just can't in other sports.

    That means it isn't a level playing field as some players are just under more scrutiny than others as they get more TV coverage, followers on course etc.

    Harrington didn't think anything was wrong, his playing partners didn't, the crowd around didn't, the officials didn't and so on but some bloke watching it on TV somewhere in the world can get him disqualified.

    Sorry but that's a joke. If you have rules then they have to be implemented fairly and equally. Harrington has lost out for an accident captured under the scrutiny of a world-wide auidence. If there was intent, as seems to be the case with Saltman, then the playing partners were straight on it.

  • Comment number 81.

    #80 - I understand where you are coming from but the real point is the absolute acceptance of his fate by Harrington even though he did what he did unknowingly.
    This is what sets golf apart from almost every other sport and long may it continue.

  • Comment number 82.

    This sort of thing should absolutely not be allowed to happen. Being judged by video replays after the fact is not acceptable, and anyway what possible advantage did Padraig gain?!! Let's just have a little common sense here shall we. Insane overreaction by a stuffy organisation of old fuddy duddies to what is an honest to god mistake by a highly respected player. Rediculous.

  • Comment number 83.

    In the case of Harrington's recent disqualification, I can't see a practical reason why the Committee can't apply a postround penalty of two strokes, meaning that he returned a 67.

    As has been pointed out, Harrington thought that the ball oscillated, his partners saw/said nothing, no referrees pointed anything out (although it isn't technically their job to do that), in short, nothing was mentioned at the time. Clearly no real advantage has been gained but the fact is that the ball was played from the wrong spot. 2 shot penalty applied, see you tomorrow.

    I agree with #80, the intent is demonstrably not there, a different rule should apply.

  • Comment number 84.

    Naturally, we assume that the reason Padraig's ball moved was because 'his hand brushed against it'. Gosh, we weekend golfers better watch out!!
    It seems harsh, especially on such a great professional. However, he spoke like a true gentleman and lover of the sport when interviewed, and as one who truly appreciates that the 'rules are there for a higher reason'. All the best Padraig, next week.
    Brian Bunker

  • Comment number 85.

    #77 wrong
    #78 correct.

    There is no penalty for signing for a higher score.
    Penalty for signing for a lower score is disqualification.

    Everyone else who is trying to re-write the rules should understand that golf has survived very well by having no exceptions to argue over. The rules are absolute and the same for all.

    I sympathise that Padraig got disqualified for a rules breach that could only have been picked up on TV and not in your monthly medal.

    But thats tough. The same game has provided Padraig with a great career and a very comfortable lifestyle. And its thanks to, not despite the games rules and integrity, that the game and its protagonists are held in such high esteem and why sponsors want to be associated with it and back it with big money.

    It ain't broke...don't think you can fix it.

    regarding Saltman - I've played with cheats and we all know who they are. They are normally in denial and don't even consider they are cheats...just sharing the views of a few others on this discussion that an inch here or an inch there doesn't matter. They are people with lower standards of decency and fair play and can't be redeemed. They shouldn't be playing golf as they are just not suited and should stick to something else where integrity isn't an issue.

  • Comment number 86.

    #85 - You've made some pretty bold statements I think and, in general, I agree with you.

    However, I'm not sure I can go along with the "It ain't broke...don't think you can fix it" mentality. If all people involved in golf had that attitude, I don't think we'd see the changes to the game that the R&A have dealt with in the past (e.g. club size and material, ball size, dimple patterns, etc.). Possibly, there are more to come.

    Prior to the explosion of TV and TV camera technology, there was no way to detect Harrington's transgression so there was no need to try and have a rule that handled it. As technology changes, so must the rules to cope. I don't know what the answer is but the powers that be in the game should be debating the subject.

    There should always be scope for discussion on changes for the better.

  • Comment number 87.

    Titanicus - fair point.

    However I think responding to developments in equipment and technology is one thing. Rules do evolve of course. I remember as a junior in a game with the pro hitting my ball against his bag and claiming the hole....slightly naughty...within the rules of the day (I only half meant it...honest).

    That rule has been changed and rightly too.

    I don't think its relevant whether technology reveals an offence that otherwise wouldn't be spotted. If I move my ball in the rough its an offence and I know it whether my partner can see it or not. If I do the same next week when he's wearing his super new glasses it is no less or no more an offence :-)

    But I agree...rules are constantly being debated and updated -rightly - but they ain't that bad are they?

  • Comment number 88.

    mossy1963 - I believe you are right on both the points you make with the caveat that, in Harrington's case, he *believed* that the ball oscillated and technology proved him wrong. He had satisfied himself that he came close to transgressing but didn't. I don't know the man personally but he seems the sort that would have immediately contacted his playing partners or the referee to explain the situation - far better a 2 stroke penalty than a DQ.

    The rules should be amended to account for this type of case, where the discerning, rule-abiding, playing genuinely believes that he (or she) has correctly applied the rules of the game. Next question, how do you prove that you are a rule-abiding player?! To answer that partially myself and to refer to the original Saltman topic, repeated observed infractions would suggest that a player falls OUT of this category.

    As a keen (and hopefully seen as fair) amateur and former Competition Committee member (left the club when I emigrated), I have repeatedly mentioned that, however annoying and dumb the rules may appear to be, those are the actual rules and they MUST be applied. In time, the out-of-date rules will be corrected or removed by the governing bodies (do we need two? that's another debate!).

  • Comment number 89.

    What has the game of golf come to when an anonymous TV viewer, who apparently has way too much time on his/her hands, has the ability to phone or e-mail golf's authorities to advise them of a rules transgression? I am sure that he/she has taken great delight for causing Harrington's disqualification.
    Everyone recognises that in real time, there did not appear to be obvious movement of the ball, so, as far as Harrington was concerned, all was good. However, with the advent of instant replays and slow motion reviews, if golf's authorities want to maintain ultimate control, then they should be looking at these replays, on a continuous basis, rather than have TV viewers feeling that they can play 'god'

  • Comment number 90.

    It is easy to NOT cheat, so I cannot understand professionals risking their career for a tiny advantage such as this example. Watching the snooker final the other day, it seemed strange that the referee felt a need to watch a couple of shots 'in the players face' almost, when snooker players always 'call' themselves if they play a foul shot, especcially in front of the cameras, and commentators with x-ray viaion!

  • Comment number 91.

    Sorry to join this string halfway through - but what did he actually do ?

 

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