Caddie Confidential: How many pro golfers actually cheat – and how to fix it

In this month’s installment of Caddie Confidential, we tackle cheating on the PGA Tour. Credit: Marc Lebryk-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome to the third installment of our “Caddie Confidential” series, with monthly, inside-the-ropes perspective from dozens of Tour caddies on rotating golf topics. On the tee this month: cheating on the PGA Tour. Is it an issue? According to the caddies we polled — who were given anonymity — it happens more than people know.

Cheating happens in every walk of life. Professional golf is no different.

As we tackled the topic of cheating — an understandably sensitive one in golf — we asked the dozens of PGA Tour caddies we polled how many players on Tour they’d label as either a “cheater,” or someone who unfairly bends the rules in their favor.

It’s important to note that most of our respondents are in agreement there aren’t a ton of those types of players… but they do exist. Let’s jump into what the caddies shared with us.

How many players on Tour would you label either as a “cheater,” or someone who unfairly bends the rules in their favor?

Check out this selection of responses from caddies:

I would say that number is “zero.”

I know of two for sure.

A few here and here, allegedly, each year.

Just a couple.

It’s got to be 10-15 players.

Most of them.

It’s 5-10 players. And lots of slow players.

I think it’s less than five.

It’s one. And it’s not who you think. This player plays on the Champions Tour now.

Since I can’t observe every player during every second of play, it would be a pure guess that can’t be verified. I would GUESS that no more than 5 percent of all players have ever cheated. That may be high, could be as low as 1 percent.

It’s 3-5 players.

I just do not think it exists out there.

Everyone is aware of who they are.

In the past there have been players; and if there are some now you, can count them on one hand.

Under 10.

Just one.

Most when it comes to the the lateral hazard rule.

Ten percent don’t mark their ball perfectly.

Less than five, unless you include guys that use the armlock method for putting.


Next, we asked caddies what they believed could be done to fix cheating on Tour.

What can be done to crack down on pro golf cheating occurrences?

Check out this selection of responses from caddies:

Nothing.

Refusal to sign scorecards and social media exposure/public shaming. See Joel Dahmen/Sung Kang incident.

Short of having an official follow every group, I don’t think there is much that can be done. Ultimately everyone just needs to be honest.

Apply the rules of golf consistently across the whole Tour. If someone blatantly skirts the rules, call him out. Seems the Tour is more worried about being sued than doing what is right.

Allow officials to see video footage if a player or someone on the course witnesses an infraction of the rules to make the correct determination.

Suspensions and fines.

Harsher punishment.

It’s a non-issue.

Nothing that I can think of at this time. Players are asked by the Rules Officials to police themselves and each other. The majority of the players on the PGA Tour are not willing to go out on a limb and call someone out for an infraction of the rules.

Players saying something to the player who is doing it at the moment it happens.

I don’t feel anything more needs to be done.

Players need to self-police more. Most are afraid to rock the boat and confront situations where something questionable is happening.

Harsher penalties.

It’s an honor system… there is no way to police cheating occurrences.

If you don’t agree on the drop site, say something.

Enforcement of the rules.

Players making the final ruling — not the officials have a vote.

Guys just have to be honest and willing to confront any possible incidents.

Players faults. They are too soft and afraid to police themselves. Good ole fashion punch in the nose in the locker room would suffice for the cheating. Follow baseball’s lead. You cheat, you get hit.

No answer.

Is disqualification or penalty strokes not enough? There is a huge price to pay financially, let alone the reputation being stained.

Players speaking up and calling guys out more.

Have a camera crew with each group.

Suspend and fine players for abruptly for cheating.

The game is about integrity. When in doubt, never try to take advantage. It will always begin with the player.

Other competitors calling out the perpetrators to protect the field.

Have a walking official in each group. So much is put on pace of play, players are stuck trying to take drops on their own or waiting for an official. An official in every group would help keep pace of play up and help with basic drops, watching where the ball last crossed a hazard, etc.

Not sure. Golf is still a game with the highest amount of integrity/accountability.

Interested in more from our March 2021 installment of Caddie Confidential? Be sure to check out what pro loopers say about the one rule Tour players are most likely to ‘fudge’, as well as whether or not cheating really is an issue on the PGA Tour.

You can view all the results from our entire Caddie Confidential by clicking here.

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