Is Tiger Woods A Cheater?

Published: Nov 01, 2013 18:15pm EDT
By JLangley4, Sports Writer for Konsume Sports

Please Note: This article was updated Nov 01, 2013 @ 06:37pm EDT


Cheating in golf is something that is frowned upon, as it is in any sport. There are two things athletes hate being called: soft, and a cheater.

It is no secret that Tiger Woods has had his share of off the course mishaps in the cheating department, but the term has been attached to him on the course, by none other than Golf Channel analyst, Brandel Chamblee.

Overall, Chamblee is an honest analyst. He pulls no punches and is rarely apologetic in doing so. It is respectable that he will speak his mind and not apologize for telling what he believes to be the truth. This time, however, Chamblee took it a bit too far.

Chamblee has often been a critic of Woods and swing coach Sean Foley, making it known that he believes that if Woods switched back to former coach, Butch Harmon, Woods would enjoy his former successes. It should be dually noted that Chamblee has also been complimentary of Woods as well, noting the improvement he has made this past season.

Unfortunately, there is a damper on the analysis of Chamblee, as he insinuated Woods was a cheater for his numerous rules violations this season.

Let's take a look at three of the most notable illegal drops.

1. Plugged lay at Abu Dhabi.

Woods hit his ball on the fifth hole at Abu Dhabi into a brush, causing him to go searching for his ball. Woods consulted with his playing partner, Martin Kaymer, about whether or not the ball was embedded, which under normal circumstances, would constitute a free drop. The two agreed on the ball being embedded, and Woods proceeded to take a free drop. Unfortunately, the area is known as a "sandy area" which means a free drop is not allowed. Woods suffered a two-stroke penalty, resulting in a missed cut.

While the situation seems bad, Woods handled the situation correctly. Consulting your playing partner is common on the tour and is a good way to make sure the rules are being followed. This situation is more about the players not recognizing the area as a sandy area where a free drop cannot be taken, rather than an egregious violation of the rules.

When being assessed the penalty, Woods accepted the ruling, and moved on. There was no argument, so it is tough to say he was trying to cheat in this case.

2. The drop at The Masters.

This is the story heard around the golfing world. Tiger Woods was on hole 15 in the second round of the Masters tournament in Augusta Georgia, when the wheels went sideways. Woods was at 5-under par, and suddenly, his shot hit the flagstick upon his approach. The ball would have stopped within five feet of the hole had it not been for the flagstick. Heck, many argue that it could have gone in the hole. In the case that he makes birdie, and the entire situation doesn't happen as it did, there is a very good chance Tiger Woods wins his fifteenth major, and the critics would be off his back.

Unfortunately, fate was not on his side. The ball did hit the flagstick, and the ball proceeded to roll into the water. Woods chose to drop the ball as close to his drop spot as possible. Only, Woods didn't drop it as close as possible. He took a step back, and dropped the ball. This makes it seem like he deliberately cheated, right?

Not so fast. For different water hazards, there are different rules. A call-in alerted the tour officials of the infraction, but the officials deemed there was no penalty before Woods finished his round. Upon his post-round interview, Woods explained the situation, saying he took a couple steps back. Woods incriminated himself, forcing the officials to enforce a penalty.

Players are protected from call-in's and do not get disqualified for signing a bad scorecard after their rounds. This was the first instance of this occurring, so there was debates about whether or not Woods should have been disqualified. By rule, the officials did the correct thing by assessing the penalty and letting Woods play.

Whether Woods gained an advantage by dropping his ball slightly behind his first shot is up for debate. But an egregious act of cheating? Tough to sell this writer on that.

3. Was the ball oscillating?

The third and final drop to be discussed is the "oscillating" ball at the BMW championship in September. This is an instance where Woods was wrong, even if what he saw on the course may differ from what was seen on TV.

Woods picked up a twig to give his club a better path to the ball, which is legal to do, unless the ball moves. In the event the ball moves, even just a centimeter, the ball must be placed back to its original location, with the assessment of a one-stroke penalty. Woods did not do this, as he believed the ball oscillated, which would mean the ball moved back to its original location on its own. HD cameras say otherwise, and Woods was assessed a 2-stroke penalty for playing the ball anyway.

Woods argued that the ball oscillated, and he should not be given the penalty, even after watching video replay. This made Woods look bad, because it was obvious the ball did not oscillate.

The problem with each of these violations is that one cannot decide whether or not Woods was knowingly cheating. In every instance, aside from the BMW championship, Woods accepted the penalty and didn't fight back, knowing he was wrong.

Chamblee has apologized for his column, saying his insinuation that Woods cheated took it too far. Chamblee is not wrong for having his opinion that Woods deserves an F for the season for the rules violations, he is just wrong for his wording.

Instead of going as far as to saying Woods cheated, he should have simply said that the number one player in the world should not be getting four rules violations in one season. This would have made sense, and wouldn't have casted a dark cloud over Chamblee and his credentials.

To go as far as to say that Tiger Woods is a cheater is misguided, and not factual. Put aside what he has done off of the course, and look at what he has done on the course. Before this season, Woods was rarely called for violations. It would be a leap of faith to start considering him a cheater of the game now.


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