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Ethics: Spirit of the Game

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Highway 101, May 25, 2008.

  1. Highway 101

    Highway 101 Active Member

    “Unlike many sports, golf is played, for the most part, without the supervision of a referee or umpire. The game relies on the integrity of the individual to show consideration for other players and to abide by the Rules. All players should conduct themselves in a disciplined manner, demonstrating courtesy and sportsmanship at all times, irrespective of hoe competitive they may be. This is the spirit of golf.”

    --The Rules of Golf, page 1.

    I ask the board... What role does a sports reporter, covering an event, have in “The Spirit of Golf?”

    I present a case of fudging the rules — not one where the golfer gained a stroke, point, or hole.

    It is an instance where I witnessed a golfer violate tournament rules, and I pondered what I can do, should do, and will do through the remaining holes.

    Background: This is an amateur Mid-Am and Senior event where players can earn GolfWeek points which help determine US and British Am fields.

    Just before a group teed off in the first round, one golfer asked the Head Pro if practice putting is allowed. Considering this is a very difficult course, practicing would help any golfer, and the Pro said “No” per tourney rules.

    In the final round today, while following the lead group, one of the golfers (Stephen) missed a 12-foot putt by the size of a grape. He tapped in for par. The other competitors putted out. As they were leaving the 12th green, Stephen dropped another ball from about the same spot he missed earlier and drained it. USGA rules officials were nowhere in sight.

    Stephen “practice-putted,” by every conceivable notion of the phrase. Stephen then birdied the next two holes to tie for the lead.

    When the final three-some reached No. 16 green I pulled aside another caddy in group - who I know well - and asked him about it. He said, “I was like, “WTF are you thinking?” So others in the final group knew about the practice.

    The round carried on, and Stephen forced a playoff. He lost.

    Should I have blown the whistle, or let those in his group do it?
  2. 93Devil

    93Devil Well-Known Member

    Say nothing.

    Your job is to tell the story of the event or describe/record it. However you want to put it, but being an official is not your role.

    I know in golf fans call from home to correct rules on the course, but let someone else do that.

    No cheering the pressbox means silence, IMHO.

    I was so anal about not being part of the game, I would never touch the ball if it was coming at me when I was on the sideline. I was that careful about not touching a ball in play or altering what was happening on the field. I never got a complaint for that stance.
  3. Highway 101

    Highway 101 Active Member

    Devil, I see your very good point of the reporter writing the results and the details about it.

    But based on the honor code of golf — which no other sport carries — I'm still confused where that grey line has been set. Has it ben set at all?

    The error goes beyond Stephen's score. It affected his place in this tournament and the number of points he scored on the world amateur rankings, which will affect who gets into other big tourneys and who doesn't.

    So because of my silence, Dude may get into a USGA or an R&A field in which he doesn't belong. Therefore bumping somebody else who followed all of the rules.
  4. imjustagirl

    imjustagirl Active Member

    Wrong. Because the other caddy and god knows who else didn't speak up.

    They were competitors. You were not.
  5. John

    John Well-Known Member

    Tough position to be in, 101, but I agree with IJAG.

    The golfer and his competitors are essentially the officials when one isn't around. Now, why one of them didn't say anything is another question.
  6. zebracoy

    zebracoy Guest

    Regardless of the rules/attitude/atmosphere, you're never supposed to get involved, as has been said many times. Yes, you know that he took the extra putt in violation of the rules, but nobody can be sure of how many other times it's happened and who has done it.

    It's not on you to speak up. It's on the caddy and those in his group to say something. They didn't, and they're the ones who are going to face the most direct result from it happening.

    It's a tough break, for sure. But you're there to watch, not to dictate the outcome.
  7. jgmacg

    jgmacg Guest

    USGA rules in effect? If so, Rule 7-2 allows practice putts on the green just played.


    If the rule was suspended by the local committee for the tournament, then there's a problem.
  8. Highway 101

    Highway 101 Active Member

    The rules were suspended, as the Head Pro said on the first day, thus a violation of "quoted" Note #2.

    Thanks to all who have set my doubts aside. Covering golf is much different than hoops, where I can tell Ted Valentine or Mike Wood "No. 35 stepped on the line right THERE, so it's a 2-pointer," and they'll check the replay.
  9. Moderator1

    Moderator1 Moderator Staff Member

    You tell Valentine and Wood that?

    If it is a USGA event, I'm not sure the pro has the right to suspend any rules. No way one of his competitors doesn't call him on it if he's violating a rule.
  10. Pencil Dick

    Pencil Dick Member

    It's not your place to be calling rules violations, though it's happpened before.

    Use "The Googles" and type in "Michelle Wie Michael Bamberger" or "Michelle Wie disqualified."
  11. Rhody31

    Rhody31 Well-Known Member

    Just because the head pro says the rule was suspended, it doesn't mean it was. You should have asked the USGA officials.
  12. SF_Express

    SF_Express Active Member

    Yep. Others who were directly involved knew about it. Their place to make the call. Not yours.

    And then I'm a little confused about your basketball reference, too. You'd get involved in whether a shot was a 2-pointer or a 3-pointer by calling something to the attention of the referee? I don't think that's your deal, either.
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