Is golf the last bastion of integrity and respect in the world of professional sport?


By Larry Canning

I’M still processing Lexi Thompson’s four shot penalty called in by some goose who no doubt was spruiking at the bar of his golf club about how he cost a 22 year old kid a major championship.  “Hey that was me who rang in. I was on National TV!”….. Yeah, you’re a hero mate.  

Because my damaged middle aged brain processes things about as quickly as it takes Phil Mickelson and his caddy to read a 20 footer, Lexi’s incident was still a little fresh when I stumbled onto a show on TV where a panel was discussing Sam Thaiday’s recent attempt to teach the kiddies how to treat a fellow professional footballer during a tackle.

Just two weeks earlier Melbourne Storm and NZ International Jesse Bromwich suffered a “sickening” dislocation (not sure there is any other type of dislocation is there?) to his thumb which saw bone breaking through the skin.

Sam figured it was all fair and square to grab Jess’s heavily bandaged thumb and test its range of flexibility by bending it backwards. Due to lack of “conclusive” evidence Sam was let off with a $1,500 fine and no suspension. The ensuing debate on the show was – ‘Has footy and for that matter all contact sport become too soft?’ “It’s been happening in football for years”, someone said. “It just looks bad now because it’s picked up by cameras.”

Imagine if we had access to the sound on all these nasty indiscretions as well. I’m sure it would be pretty polite banter like: “Your prostate seems fine Sir”. “Aaah, that’s a relief. Thank you Doctor Hopoate”. Or: “I’ll just get you to cough now Willie.. all good now off you go”. Maybe:  “Wow! I’m feeling pretty detached after that tackle…from my retina”.

As my Rugby League experience lasted barely long enough to be tackled for the first time and realise how much it bloody hurts, I am extremely under qualified to offer an informed Rugby League cultured opinion but from a professional sportsman’s point of view I find it flat out disgraceful  when someone intentionally re- injures a fellow competitor and jeopardises their ability to earn the money they have trained every day to justly earn.  I reckon it’s cheating. And that word in professional sport… well readers, it really gets right under my Srixon Q Stars!!

I’ll take my naivety one step further and offer up this incident I watched live at the ground. A test cricketer feathered an edge to the keeper and as it was Australia V India no referrals to the third umpire were being used. The batsman, keeper, bowler, commentators and two and half million viewers all knew he was out but he didn’t walk because the umpire missed it. Australia went on to secure a victory and a series win. The Indian team, who incidentally acted like spoilt brats, were no doubt being payed winning incentives on top of their contracted money.  This means they were ripped off. Plus the player in question may have been dropped from the team after his dismissal and some young kid could have been offered a spot in the team and signed up for a kit bag full of cash. To me that’s cheating another professional out of his rightful earnings.

What’s more, I’ve heard former Aussie Captains condone the practice of cheating by “Not Walking”. When Adam Gilchrist famously bucked this crappy cricket culture, he was publically criticised by these Captains for potentially costing his team a victory.

A victory at what cost guys? I’d like to think every decent minded sport professional, who is fortunate enough to make a nice living out of something they love, feels some kind of obligation to leave their particular game in good hands. Fostering an acceptance of cheating in that sport to the kids watching is just plain wrong guys!

Lexi Thompson was belted with a ridiculous penalty and wasn’t told she was being penalised four shots until her 13th hole on Sunday …when she happened to be three in front. She took it on the chin and fought back to a share for the lead. After ultimately losing the play-off Lexi showed pure class by congratulating her opponent and graciously accepting her penance.

Am I missing something or is golf the last bastion of integrity and respect in the world of professional sport?

I’m sorry to get all serious readers, but I feel pretty passionate about this and I would love some feedback…



  1. well done larry canning. I am having my doubts about manners in golf as some of these juniors and also seniors need a lesson in manners and accepting when things do not go to plan. after all they hit the shot. note I said some. I for one do not like all these changes and why oh why do we have to gallop round a golf course?? mind you I am of the era when golf was played PROPERLY with RULES that were obeyed and we all enjoyed it. thank you anyway.

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