LPGA: Tour looking into cheating allegations

Caddie alleges 2 golfers tried to cover up violation

September 02, 2010|By Jeff Shain, Tribune Newspapers

LPGA officials are making follow-up calls into cheating allegations that burned up the Internet from last week's Canadian Women's Open, though the eventual resolution may never be fully known.

Shi Hyun Ahn and Il Mi Chung were disqualified for signing incorrect scorecards after the opening round, having inadvertently played each other's ball from the 18th fairway. Just when that mistake was discovered is the question.

Playing the wrong ball brings a two-stroke penalty and requires the player to go back and replay from the correct spot.

One LPGA caddie, Larry Smich, alleged in a blog post that the players knew of the mistake on the green, spoke to each other in Korean and agreed to keep quiet. The players came forward, he said, only when a caddie threatened to turn them in.

LPGA spokesman David Higdon confirmed that the circuit's tournament operations staff is taking a closer look.

"We'll be following up with a few people," Higdon said, noting the players' caddies could get a call. "Right now we're comfortable with what's happened so far. They came to us (about the mistake)."

Chris Benz, Chung's caddie in Winnipeg, told Golfweek that he noticed the switch on the green but didn't say anything to his boss. Chung's agent told the magazine that the player realized her ball was different when she signed it for someone after the round.

Even if any misconduct is uncovered, Higdon added, the matter would "be handled internally" and not be made public.

The longer-term fallout may come in the form of damaged reputations. Vijay Singh still bears scars from cheating allegations at a 1985 tournament in Indonesia.

Colin Montgomerie's appointment as European Ryder Cup captain was marred by a rehash of a 2005 incident.

Tap-ins: Phil Mickelson's missed cut at the Barclays last week was just his third all season. One of the others came at the Scottish Open, which also happens to be sponsored by the banking giant. No big deal, except that Mickelson wears the Barclays logo. … New U.S. Amateur champion Peter Uihlein, runner-up David Chung and U.S. Open low amateur Scott Langley will represent the United States at next month's World Amateur Team Championship in Argentina.

— Jeff Shain

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