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Another Take: Deep woods' ethics

April 10, 2012

For those of you who aren’t afflicted with that four-letter word called G-O-L-F, please continue reading this edition of the Statesman-Examiner and avoid this golf ethics question.
Yes, it’s a conundrum caught between a pine grove and a hard place.
For the uninitiated, golf is one of the most honorable of games. Yes, that’s allegedly and actually. There are few sports that I know of that call for the player to serve as his own arbiter and call penalties on him or herself.
Yes, what would Uncle Timmy do indeed.
Okay, there are more than a few folks without moral compasses who play golf. And yes, that is unfortunate. We are forced to work with people who apparently assimilated their ethical moral code from some single-wide syllabus.
It would be nice if these unplayable lies and cheats would confine their cheating hearts, games and minds to the workplace instead of defiling the links land from Left Coast to Right. But then I would always choose Pollyanna as a member of my Ideal Foursome.
The other three members (yes, I would play along, and much to the resident pro’s chagrin, we’d have a nice, tidy five-some): 2012 Masters champion Bubba Watson, David Feherty and my late father.
That one would be fun, although I imagine Pollyanna is a total hack.
Here’s a fun little golf ethics question:
What if you were playing in the club championship tournament finals and the match was halved at the end of 17 holes. You had the honor and hit your ball a modest 250 yards (not modest by my 61-year-old standards) in the middle of the fairway. The tee shot left a nice, smooth six-iron to the pin that you’re sure you can pure and get over that bunker complex that fronts the green.
Your opponent, Snidely “Foot Mashie” Whiplash then hits his ball, lofting it deep into the woods to the right of the fairway. Being the golfing gentleman that you allegedly are, you help your opponent look for his ball.
Just before the permitted five-minute search period ends, your opponent says, “Go ahead and hit your second shot and if you don’t find it in time, I’ll concede the match.”
You hit your ball, landing it on the green and stopping about 10-feet from the pin. About the time your ball comes to rest, you hear your opponent exclaim from deep in the woods: “I found it!”
Sure he did.
The second sound you hear is a click, the sound of a club striking a ball. The ball comes sailing out of the woods and lands on the green, stopping no more than six inches from the hole.
No, this guy is not Bubba Watson reincarnate. Bubba found his ball in the deep woods before he hit that crazy 40-yard snapper on the second hole of Sunday’s dramatic Masters’ playoff.
So here’s the ethical dilemma you have:
Do you pull the cheating bastard’s ball out of your pocket and confront him with it, or do you keep you mouth shut?

By: Chris Cowbrough

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