Honesty. Honor. Integrity.

Big words. Words that most people would have no problem associating with golf. As far as I know, It’s the only sport where you can call a penalty on yourself even in the absence of a witness.

In the 1925 US Open, that’s exactly what happened. Bobby Jones assessed himself a penalty stroke for moving the ball while addressing it, even though he was the only one who saw the ball move. When he was congratulated later for his conduct (he lost in a playoff), Jones said “You might as well praise me for not robbing banks.”

Such is the nature of this game and its champions.

Or was.

I don’t know about you, but the rules of golf are supposed to promote fair play, aren’t they? A player not getting disqualified because of his stature is not fair play. A player not being sanctioned for use of a banned substance is not fair play. A foreign amateur getting penalized for playing just as slow as his professional counterparts is not fair play. Banning a putting style that hasn’t been proven to offer a distinct advantage is not fair play.

In addition to the rules. there’s an unwritten code of conduct that is considered just as important. It’s called “etiquette”, which in my opinion calls for a competitor to proceed in a manner that is most socially acceptable should the rules become ambiguous.

Mr. Jones must be rolling in his grave.

As a lawyer friend often says… “Just because it’s legal, doesn’t mean it’s ethical.”

I wonder. Will they still ban anchored putters if Tiger started using one?


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