x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

With best intentions, Tiger Woods is no cheat

It would have been okay to criticise his knowledge of rules but to bracket him as a cheat may be taking it too far.

Tiger Woods has been penalised thrice this season.  Kris J Murante / AP Photo
Tiger Woods has been penalised thrice this season. Kris J Murante / AP Photo

In most instances, it is a stain that no amount of soap can remove.

Being discredited as a cheater in golf, which sanctimoniously claims to be the purest of sports with regard to honesty, is usually a permanent blight on a reputation.

Last week, while writing for an online outlet, the Golf Channel’s Brandel Chamblee, a former PGA Tour winner and one of the best TV analysts in the game, implied that Tiger Woods is a cheater and gave him a letter grade of “F” for the season.

Woods’s agent rattled his sword about a lawsuit, and the world No 1’s multiple rules violations from 2013 were exhumed yet again by aficionados. A lawsuit would seemingly have little merit, which is how many felt about Chamblee’s cheating assertion. For a guy who makes a living by being glib, Chamblee certainly could have chosen his words more carefully.

Woods was zapped three times for rules infractions and had another incident where no penalty was levied, but suggesting the breaches were intentional is entirely another matter.

Starting with the violation that precipitated a missed cut in Abu Dhabi in January, Woods spent far too much time in the referee’s office, explaining his actions.

If Chamblee had claimed that Woods created more headlines with his rules violations than he did with his five victories, or that his rules knowledge rated an F grade, his position would be absolutely defensible.

That is the honest truth.

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