It is the foundation of golf, particularly on the professional level.
Nobody becomes a steady wage-earner without some semblance of rote consistency in their swing, a reliable pattern that holds up under scrutiny.
Two influential bodies in the game have found an upsetting groove over the past two weeks. Faced with uncomfortable, controversial rulings involving the two most dominant players of the past 15 years, a sport that trumpets propriety above all else declined to assess penalties and instead issued get-out-of-jail-free cards.
As other sports have suffered the indignities of criminal behaviour, doping scandals and look-at-me idiocy involving their players, golf as an institution has blathered forevermore about both the image of its sportsmen and the inherent honesty of the game itself, tossing around terms like integrity and accountability.
Instead of golf taking a tough approach to two admitted violations, the professional game instead found exclusions, exceptions and exemptions when it came to penalising Vijay Singh and Tiger Woods.
On Tuesday, the PGA Tour dropped a high-profile doping charge against Singh, even though the Fijian had admitted that he took a banned substance. After concluding a three-month review and appeals process, the tour announced that the World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada) had abruptly changed its stance on the banned substance involved, deer-antler spray, and the US tour, in turn, elected to vacate Singh's pending sanction.
The fact that US tour players had been warned in 2011 not to take deer-antler supplements, and that it remained on the list of banned substances at the time Singh was using it, were issues deemed conveniently moot.
"Based on this new information, and given Wada's lead role in interpreting the prohibited list, the tour deemed it only fair to no longer treat Mr Singh's use of deer-antler spray as a violation of the tour's anti-doping programme," the PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem said.
The PGA Tour, as Augusta National officials had done with Woods's contentious bad drop in the Masters, looked the other way. Woods admitted to taking an improper drop and had signed an incorrect card as a result - cause for disqualification about 99.9999 per cent of the time. But because Augusta officials botched a rules review, he was charitably allowed to play on the weekend. Singh was flagged for running a red light and entered a guilty plea. A day later, officials removed the traffic signal. So was the court correct in tossing his signed citation in the trash? Both players violated rules, unwittingly or otherwise. Not technically, but explicitly.
Unlike the silky swings of top players, there has been a repeatable consistency in the governance of the game lately. Purists might call it flailing and failing.
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