Camilo Villegas and Dustin Johnson are only recent examples of professional “cheating” in golf. Or rather, an accidental rules violation – to prove a player’s intent to break regulations is difficult…unless you ask them…as I did, with my son. Upon receiving his mini-tests, we verbally went over several of the incorrect answers. He knew the right answers each time with no hesitation. However, he slowly began to confess why he hadn’t put down what he knew was right. He looked at the girl beside him and copied her answers. What? Are you serious?! My son…a CHEATER!
As he explained himself, the tears began to flow…and flow…and flow. So, my “speech” to him went back in the bag…the damage was done. To explain how cheaters never prosper was easy to show with wrong answers, but not as impactful as his response to feelings of guilt and shame. Before he fell asleep later that night I asked him why he would never cheat again. He asked how come, of course? I explained that his spirit, soul, inner voice…his conscience…would not let him do it. And he would be a better person for it.
So, welcome to the game of golf, where the urge to cheat can be as uncontrollable as your ball in a head wind. Out of some short term “bad”, came some long term “good”. Fortunately for him, there will be a “most honest golfer” trophy waiting for him, somewhere…and I’ll be the one handing it to him.