Caddie Confidential: Pro loopers on the one rule Tour players are most likely to ‘fudge’

In this month’s installment of Caddie Confidential, we tackle the topic of cheating. Credit: Vickie Connor/Desert Sun-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.

There may be a gray area when it comes to comes to cheating and interpretation of the rules. But one thing is certain: no golfer wants to be labeled a cheater — especially on the PGA Tour.

“There is a slight difference between blatant cheating and bending rules when it comes relief and where a ball crossed a hazard line,” one caddie told us. “Blatant cheating is very rare.”

Professional golfers bending the rules might come into play more than you think. Caddies cited where balls are dropped near lateral hazards as the most common area where rules are bent.

Outright cheating? Caddies admit that’s rare.

But we were curious to know: Do caddies have any stories they could share related to cheating based on their own experiences?

So, we asked …

Are there any examples or stories related to cheating you can share from your experiences??

Check out this selection of responses from caddies:

No.

There are none directly in front of me. I just hear the stories.

I haven’t witnessed anyone get away with a serious breach of the rules. I do recall a situation where a player argued strongly about where he should be able to drop his ball. He had hit his ball into a lateral hazard from the tee. The ball last crossed the hazard line about 80-90 yards off the tee, but he insisted it crossed at about 230-240 yards. He eventually accepted that nobody was going to agree with him, but man he was pissed. Didn’t talk to anyone the last seven holes. Funny thing is, he wasn’t going to make the cut anyway.

None that haven’t already been documented in the golf media.

I’ve seen players get relief from obstructions or sprinkler heads that aren’t justified.

People taking bad drops.

I’ve seen players in the rough state that they are identifying the ball while they press the grass around the ball to “identify it,” which creates a better lie.

There was an instance in Reno many years ago when a player couldn’t find his ball, then was running out of time and said he found it, but it had a different marking on it than he uses. He said he changed his marking. It happened to change the cut line that week also.

Not really. I’d be uncomfortable detailing them.

Marking is an issue for multiple players. And the obvious bad drop is allowed way too often.

I would love to tell the story (everyone knows the story), but I will be sued and that’s no joke.

I saw a player drop his coin while marking his ball. The coin hit the ball the ball rolled closer to the hole. He ignored the fact the ball rolled closer to the hole and putted out.

I’m not a rat.

Call me.

Balls crossing red lines are always exaggerated by some.

I was a witness to a situation where a player was placing a marker for his ball to the side of the ball on the low side of the hole every time a short putt was involved. He would then place his ball in front of the marker. This resulted in a straighter putt to the hole. He was caught by both playing partners and was confronted in the scoring area. The Rules Officials assessed penalty strokes for each occurrence, and the player went from T4 to 37th place. This is the only time I have ever witnessed cheating, and it was not on the PGA Tour.

There is a slight difference between blatant cheating and bending rules when it comes to relief and where a ball crossed a hazard line. Blatant cheating is very rare.

Most “cheating” is done while taking drops or figuring out where a ball entered a penalty area, usually water.

Most of what I’ve witnessed are guys trying to take a favorable drop for a ball crossing a hazard.

Every time a player hits a ball into a hazard and they try to determine where it last crossed the hazard. The player [who hit the shot] always has the best “angle,” but they always seem to ask the others in the group “hoping” they will let them drop closer to the hole.

Interested in more from our March 2021 installment of Caddie Confidential? Be sure to check out if cheating really is an issue on the PGA Tour, as well as how many pros cheat and how to crack down on it

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

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