You might be wondering why I started with these Nine Core Values as taught by The First Tee. Well first off, they are pretty good values to live by, no matter what age you are. Second, these are the things that are being taught to the young people of this world who participate in the largest youth golf organization in the world.
For now, I really want you to focus on the first two Core Values; HONESTY and INTEGRITY.
That’s right, HONESTY and INTEGRITY. These two things are suppose to go hand-and-hand with the game of golf. This is the only sport in the history of existence where players at every level, from professional to junior golf, call penalties on themselves when even the tinest rule is suspected of being broken. It’s just the way of the game.
But if we look back over the last three weeks in the game of golf, I think most of us are now familiar with three very distinct situations in which the honesty and integrity of three golfers is being called into question.
It’s a kick to the nether-reason when someone calls you a liar or questions your integrity. But for me, the three players in question are professional athletes and get paid millions of dollars to play a sport that only a handful of the population is ever good enough to play.
These situations beg a single question in my opinion; Is honesty and integrity in golf even relevant anymore?
Kidnapped, Beaten and Robbed in Hawaii
This story will surely go down as one of the oddest stories in all of sports for 2015. This even after
Robert Allenby held a press conference to tell the world he never lied and then proceed to blame the media for the coverage of his story.
In other words, he’s mad because people are trying to get to the truth and he doesn’t want it exposed he is lying.
On the night of January 16, just hours after missing the cut at the Sony Open in Hawaii, Robert Allenby did what many pro golfers do after a round of golf; he went to dinner. But what happened after that dinner doesn’t happen to golfers very often.
As I was watching the Golf Channel coverage of the Sony Open that Saturday evening, Steve Sands broke in to the coverage to tell us Robert Allenby had been kidnapped, beaten and robbed after having dinner at a wine bar in Honolulu. When pictures started emerging, sure enough, he had been roughed up pretty good.
As the next week progressed, reports discrediting Allenby’s story began to surface. Things like police never investigating a kidnapping, or things like Allenby was really only a few hundred yards from the restaurant when he was found, instead of 6+ miles away like he originally told his story.
On top of that, reports began to surface that $20,000 in fraudulent charges began to show up on his credit cards and $3,400 was spent at a strip club.
Allenby fails to remember all of these things and in his press conference on Tuesday at the Waste Management, he proceeded to tell everyone he has no recollection of anything from 11:06 PM to about 1:27 AM.
Two things. First, how come the credit cards weren’t cutoff that next Sunday morning to prevent any fraudulent charges? This is just odd for me. I work at a bank for my day-job. I can tell you if a customer called up to report $20,000 in fraudulent charges several days after reporting his wallet being stolen, most likely the bank would call B.S. Yes, I know, some people have claimed the cops told him not to do anything so they can try to catch the people. I call B.S. on that as well for the simple fact they supposedly already have video of the people who Allenby was talking to before, so those would be your prime suspects right away.
Second, how do you have no recollection of a specific period of time? Say from 11:06 to 1:27 AM. I mean, those are the times he used in his press conference. If you blacked out or were drugged, how do you calculate a timeframe so specific? It just smells fishy to me and I call B.S. on his whole story.
Nobody, except maybe his wife and family, would have cared if he would have just came out and said “I got hammered and I don’t remember anything from after dinner and all I know is I woke up with no wallet and charges to my credit cards I am not aware of.”
I just think the whole story is full of holes and I hope the real truth comes out in police reports or jury trials in which the Australian press or even golf press will follow up on.
Tiger Woods #ToothGate
While the Robert Allenby story was unraveling in Hawaii, the most famous golfer in the world showed up to surprise his girlfriend at a skiing event in Italy; with a skull facemark on. The face mask was kind-of weird and stuff, but the most amusing part of the story comes when Tiger takes off the mask and he’s missing a front tooth.
I think I was on Twitter at the time and saw pictures start to surface of Tiger with this missing tooth. Nobody knew what was going on and I seriously thought it was a joke, Twitter was going absolutely crazy speculating about what happened.
Well that was right up until his super-agent, “Steiny”, released a report saying that Tiger was hit in the mouth by a videographer who was getting a little too close.
When these reports started surfacing, Twitter went even more crazier. It wasn’t too long after that, the race organizers starting disputing the story and claiming they never heard anything about it and never received any information.
So here’s where it gets good. At the Waste Management Phoenix Open, Tiger Woods addressed his missing tooth only to tell the world he wore the skull mask because of his fascination with Ghost Recon and that sure enough, he was hit in the mouth with a camera, not only chipping one tooth, but cracking another! Yep, Tiger got two teeth jacked up…. supposedly.
So another great tale told by another golfer who can’t just man up and own it. The face mask was ridiculous and he was probably trying to hide his already missing tooth. I suspect the face mask was taken off for some reason and pictures were taken of him missing a tooth, so his agent had to throw together a quick story blaming the media again.
The end. It’s just another story that nobody in the world believes.
Dustin Johnson Returns From
Suspension Leave of Absence
While these two debacles were going on in Hawaii and Italy, the final story from dishonest golfers comes from your very own Dustin Johnson. This story got the least amount of exposure because of the other two but I am sure next week at Torrey Pines it will be asked repeatedly.
So Dustin Johnson is returning to action at the Farmers Insurance Open, exactly 6-months and 5-days after his “self-imposed leave of absence.” So the problem with this story comes from the Dustin Johnson camp claiming he was never suspended for drug reasons, yet Golf.com reported back in August that DJ had been popped for cocaine and was forced to leave the Tour for 6-months.
But in the recent interviews about his return to golf, he adamantly claims it was never for a drug suspension. The PGA Tour has a ridiculous policy to supposedly “protect” the privacy of it’s players from fines and suspensions, something no other major sport does.
Look, we’ll never know what truly happen. For myself, I trust the reporting of Golf.com more than I do the words from Dustin Johnson and the PGA Tour. Those two have so much more to lose then Golf.com does, so of course they are going with the prettier reputation route.
Does HONEST and INTEGRITY Really Exist in Golf?
The bottom line is yes, honesty and integrity in golf is still very relevant, especially on the golf course itself. There are hundreds of thousands of other honest golfers who play the game the right way and lead honest lives.
Did something happen to Robert Allenby that night? Of course it did, we can all see the pictures. Did he do something illegal? We don’t know that for sure. What we do know is his story has fallen apart and there’s major gaps in it, and it’s probably better to lie to the public to try and save his image.
For Tiger Woods, well he’s never known to be the most upfront and honest person outside of the ropes. That’s just Tiger and he frankly doesn’t care what you and I think about it.
In the case of Dustin Johnson, well the rumors always swirled of his partying ways on Tour. Did he use coke? Probably. Do we know for sure? No. But that public image comes into play again and the endorsement money is much more important compared to a bunch of golf bloggers and media thinking he’s a liar.
Honesty and integrity still exist in golf, it always will. When it comes to a public image crisis and doing something a little frowned upon, well that’s when the lies start to happen.