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By Jordan Mantz

Cheaters Never Win – In Life or in Golf

Cheaters Never Win

A guy will cheat on his wife, but not in golf. Huh? A golfer is accused of cheating by his fellow players by using a club that is not against the rules. What?

How do you define a cheater? To golfers, a cheater is someone who shaves a stroke, claims that a found ball is theirs, when it’s not; and, of course, someone who doesn’t play the ball where it lies. And let’s not forget the mulligan’s, the do-overs, and the foot wedges. For golfers of any level, these are all mortal sins.

As for Tiger Woods, most of us are confident that he’d never cheat on a golf course. He’s so good, he doesn’t need to cheat. So why would he do so on his wife?

On February 19, Tiger spent the longest 15 minutes of his life apologizing to family, friends, and colleagues during a live televised statement. This historic mea culpa didn’t reveal much more than we already knew; however, the worldwide debate over its sincerity has left many people scratching their heads. After all, it’s not like Tiger Woods was accused of killing someone. So why all the fuss?

Many of us who love the game of golf feel that Tiger has let us down. After all, he had everything going for him: a beautiful wife, the perfect family, and more money than he knew what to do with. On top of all that, he also has the type of incredible talent the rest of us golfers can only dream of.

Of course, Tiger didn’t hurt us personally, and he did take 100 percent of the blame for his misbehavior. He seems to be trying to make things right in his personal life, and it appears that he is seeking help for his admitted addiction. Only time will tell if he is sincere or not.

As the old saying goes, sometimes you don’t know what you have until it is gone. Maybe Tiger did some soul searching over the past few months and now realizes that he’d rather be with his wife and children after all. Of course, who knows if his wife will stay with him or not? I’m sure no one would blame her if she took a multimillion-dollar settlement and left.

Who are we to judge? We’ve all seen people who’ve gotten away with murder. Personally, I’m not going to ridicule him for this, and I hope the rest of the golf world won’t either. Let’s face it, professional golf is much better off with Tiger in it. In my opinion, his personal life is exactly that – personal. Let’s hope he gets the treatment he needs and works things out with his wife, whether they stay together or not. After all, they have children to think about.

I’m sure if Tiger could turn back the clock, he would have done things much differently. But such is life. He said he is not sure when he’ll return to the golf world – maybe we’ll get lucky and see him tee is up this year at The Masters. Remember, he is still just a human being who plays golf. Don’t be so quick to judge.

Speaking of cheaters, what in the world is going on with Phil Mickelson? How can you call him a cheater if he is playing by the rules? Well, just ask his fellow players on the PGA Tour.

Welcome to “Wedge-Gate.” As it turns out, Phil and some other golfers were using a Ping-Eye 2 wedge that was made over 20 years ago and has square grooves, which the PGA Tour just banned this year.

What started all of the controversy was the fact that Ping filed a lawsuit against the USGA in 1990 and won a settlement stating that any Ping-Eye 2 made before April 1, 1990, remains approved because it takes precedence over any rule change.

So is it a loophole, cheating, or just playing the game? Phil took a lot of abuse for what some players say was not playing within the spirit of the game.

“I don’t appreciate the governing bodies putting me or any other player in this position, calling into question our integrity over a rule that they made,” Mickelson said. “Don’t put the blame on a player. Put the blame on the governing body.”

Phil was so upset about what he calls a ridiculous rule that he has decided to not use the Ping-Eye 2 wedge. “I won’t be playing that wedge,” he said on February 17, on the eve of his two-time title defense at Riviera in Los Angeles. “My point has been made. But if these governing bodies cannot get together to fix this loophole, if players stop using this wedge, which would stop the pressure of the issue, then I will re-look at it and put the wedge back in play.”

Several think using the club goes against the spirit of the new-grooves regulation. Scott McCarron fueled the debate when he said of Mickelson and others, “It's cheating.”

Mickelson hinted at legal action after saying he was “publicly slandered.” He said McCarron offered him a sincere apology the night before his statement, which he accepted. “We all make mistakes,” said Mickelson, “and we all say things we wish we could take back.”

Let’s hope that all this talk about cheating goes away once the players visit the hallowed grounds of Augusta National. Cheating isn’t good for the game – be it cheating on a wife or finding a loophole in the system. As golfers, we all have a mutual interest in the greatest game on earth. Let’s not let anything ruin it.

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