Leeds Uniteds and Ken Bates incredible stunt to go into administration and receive a 10 point penalty in the 2006/2007 season after already being relegated made me wonder about the nature of sports and our willingness to bend the rules. Loophole closed by Football League.
More recently Lionel Messi, successor to Maradonas throne, produced this amazing piece of handy work against Espanyol at the Nou Camp. What is it about them little Argentinians and "The Hand of God"
I have played a lot of golf in the last few weeks (improving at Golf by learning from Football) with my playing partner and his friends, enjoying their company and improving my golf in leaps and bounds.
I was invited to play with someone else a few days ago and so the 2 of us set off for our round. He is a good golfer, playing off an 8 handicap, and in fact gave me some decent tips in a previous friendly game on how to improve my golfing skills.
After a few holes in I noticed a discrepancy in his scoring. Wildy mis-hit tee-shots and lost balls seemed to have no effect on his score as he bogeyed and even made par on several holes where he should have been scoring 7s, 8s and 9s. His mathematics seemed to make no sense to me even though he only had to count in single digits. I probably should have said something as another lost ball resulted in a par but this was just a friendly game and I didn't really care what his score was. He completed the course in a respectable round of 86 vs my 95.
I was a professional Footballer and so I have a fierce competitive spirit inside me and losing is not in my vocabulary. I like to win even friendly games of golf so I am sure I would have beaten this 8 handicapper had he scored correctly. This was my first introduction into the world of the golf cheat.
My second introduction was more of a confrontation. Only a few days later I was invited into a Tournament, I was partnered with a Lady golfer and another man. He was terrible and knew it. Nice fellow though and we enjoyed a bit of banter around the course.
The woman on the other hand was a pain in the butt. She was a decent golfer similar in standard to me, so we had a small competition between us as our scores tallied most of the way around the course. Yet again her scores were wayward. The 6th hole she triple bogeyed for a 7, but confidently claimed a 6. I asked her again for her score and she repeated "6". Ok, I thought I am going to have to watch her score now.
A few holes later she called a 6 again when she had a 7. I questioned her and she started to get frosty with me and was adamant she had a 6. She was pissing me off now and the friendly smiles had disappeared and we were now at war.
Half way through the next hole I asked her how many shots she had taken. "Are you counting my score" was her response.
"Yes" I said firmly.
"Well please stop, It puts me off my game to count".
"Well, we seem to be counting the scores differently so we should keep a track as we go along" I told her. Deathly silence from the lady and we continued to play.
She played a good round of golf however and there were no more problems until the 15th hole. She was in with a chance of winning the tournament and we seemed to be getting on a bit better. Then on the 15th hole she totalled screwed up, ending up with an 8.
I knew her score but thought I would ask.
"What did you get".
"Oh, I don't know".
"It was an 8" I said.
"7 or an 8" she mumbled under her breath, pissed off with herself for screwing up but still wanting to cheat and get the point for her Stapleford score.
"It was an 8" I said and went through her shots.
That was it. She had blown up now and started ranting about how she didn't need to win this tournament, and that the money wasn't important to her. She was especially annoyed as I described one of her shots as a mis-hit. I ignored her and carried on the rest of my game.
Anyway on the 18th hole she apologized to me for being so horrible and said that she was in menopause and that she was irritable and couldn't concentrate. She shook my hand in apology but it didn't excuse her from cheating her way around the course.
I started wondering about the inherent nature of people to cheat. In 2 instances, one in a competitive match and the other in a non-competitive golf game I played against 2 people who seemed to have no guilty conscience about blatant cheating. And I have only just started to play golf seriously so I wondered how many more people actually cheat in Golf.
A survey in America in 2002 among some of the country's leading chief executives asked Two questions : 1. Have you ever cheated at golf? 2. Are you annoyed when other people cheat at golf? 82 per cent answered "yes" to both.
Now, I am standing on my soapbox, discrediting a couple of golfers for cheating as if I am a saintly do-gooder. Yet when I played football I was happy to get away with whatever I could. In training I would always try and cheat to win sprints, jumping the whistle, pushing people out of the way. In Professional games I would push and shove and hold defenders shirts, punch or elbow a player if needed be. I would argue that this was not blatant cheating, a more suitable description might be called professionalism, which means "doing what you can within the boundaries of the rules to gain a competitive advantage". aka Messi and Maradona.
In Football you are constantly battling to gain the edge in training and on Match Days. However a referee will pick up most infringements as all players are trying gain the competitive advantage. Occasionally decisions are missed such as the infamous Maradona incident who declared that this was the hand of god, not in fact his deliberate hand ball to score against England.
Amateur Golfers are a bunch of Cheating b*******
Football cheating pales in significance to Golfers. Especially Amateur Golfers who are able to drop balls, pick balls up and move them, conveniently find them when the ball is quite obviously lost and many other infringements of the game. It seems that Amateur Golfers are indeed a bunch of cheating B******s.
Telegraph - Cheating at Golf
Telegraph - Cheating at Football