Cricket cheating scandal? Imagine if that happened in golf

The Scoop

Australian cricket is currently embroiled in a scandal in which the perpetrators have got off lightly. That wouldn't be the case if it was golf, writes Alex Perry

Hello. Welcome to this week’s Dialled In, where I have very much been distracted by the scandal currently shaming the Australian cricket team.

If you haven’t seen it, bowler Cameron Bancroft was caught on camera – they do know these matches are filmed, right? – using some tape to tamper with the ball during their Test with South Africa.

The Australian captain, Steve Smith, later admitted he and the rest of the team’s leadership group knew about it.

They were, of course, dealt with swiftly by the authorities…

Wait. What?

The captain and instigator is fined his match fee and banned for a solitary test? For pre-but-not-so-carefully-planned cheating?

And the pawn in his so-called leader’s deceit is also fined and given three demerit points. If you’re wondering what that means, players who accumulate four demerit points in a two-year period receive a one-match ban, while eight demerit points in the same period gets you a two-match ban. (If cheating only gets your three demerit points, imagine what you’d have to do to get eight points.)

But this isn’t golf, I hear you cry, save all this chat for when you start up National Club Cricketer.

Well imagine if it was golf. Imagine if such blatant disregard for golf’s sacred rules was caught for the whole world to see.

This, remember, is a sport where you can accidentally wrongly mark your ball or flick two grains of sand in a bunker and have a major championship title taken away from you. The pinnacle of an individual’s career, snatched away for a minor indiscretion that affected the outcome in no way whatsoever.

Does anyone truly believe that any instigator of this level of cheating wouldn’t be handed lengthy bans? And rightly so.

Six-time European Tour champion Simon Dyson was rumbled in 2013 when he was caught on camera tapping down a spike mark in the line of his putt. A three-man panel handed him a two-month ban and a £30,000 fine. Dyson described it as his “lowest point” and it effectively ended his career. He’s barely been seen since.

So throw the book at Smith and his Australian co-conspirators. And while you’re there, can you just take a fine tooth comb to the footage from the last Ashes series?

Poulter aghast

As with most things related to, well, anything, golf’s most prolific tweeters have been all over this one.

Ernie Els tweeted his disgust, then swiftly deleted it after probably realising it wasn’t worth the fuss – particularly as the South African team have had their own ball tampering issues in the past.

And while Ian Poulter had bigger things to worry about on Saturday when he did the hokey cokey with a spot at The Masters – you can read more on that here – but he punched out no fewer than three tweets on the Australia cricket team…

As Poults suggests, if a one-match ban is all you get for cheating, you may as well just crack on…

Hahn vs. fan

James Hahn also tweeted and deleted on Saturday. He is the latest player to let it known that the American fans are on the wrong side of golf’s etiquette.

He wrote:

Fought hard today after a bad start. 2 down, 4 to go, guy yells purposely on my back swing. Whether we like it or not, this is where the game is going. My fault for not expecting the worst from fans. Just sucks to lose a match that way.

He then tweeted this:

Stand by it, James. We’re all firmly behind you. Precisely seven days ago I wrote about how the PGA Tour’s fans are quickly becoming golf’s biggest problem.

Even our very own Angry Club Golfer has had his say

Club pro woe

On a lighter note, if you’re a Twitter user and you’re not following Club Pro Guy then you’re doing it awfully wrong…

Slam plug

The golf format for the 2020 Olympic Games is revealed, Patrick Reed gets shirty with Jordan Spieth, and Gareth Bale is at it again in his bid to move all the world’s best golf holes to Wales. You can see all that in the latest edition of The Slam.

Augusta ahoy

And finally, the NCG team have been smashing out the Masters preview content. No one in the UK covers this event quite like we do.

Dan Murphy wrote about Tiger Woods, Craig Middleton went to meet Dustin Johnson who was very candid about his views on Augusta, Mark Townsend chatted to ‘Mr 63’ Nick Price and ‘Mr 30’ Maurice Bembridge, Steve Carroll went to meet Bernhard Langer 25 years removed from his last Masters win (Bernhard’s, not Steve’s), and I got the lowdown on being a Masters debutant from Andy Sullivan.

And that’s just the start.

Remember, you can keep up to speed with all the very latest on NCG’s dedicated Masters website.

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