Gary Player cheated, so they say:
Recent conversation on RSG about Gary Player. What started off as a fairly innocent question - "Just how did he win all those majors?" - became colored instantly when someone dropped the hammer with two words.
Gary Player, a common cheat? I didn't want to believe it. This same Gary Player…
…is a firm believer in doing things the right way. He recalls a time when he could have gotten away with a minor rules infraction. Instead, he reported his innocent error and was disqualified from a tournament he easily could have won. "If I had not turned myself in, I would have had to live the rest of my life with the knowledge that I had cheated… Much better is the feeling I have today that even though I left a trophy and check behind… I still have my dignity and honor."
What's going on here?
The Scotsman.com reports on another incident involving Gary Player:
Cheating is the great unmentionable in professional golf and until this summer the most notorious rumour in golf was that Gary Player had cheated his way to victory in the 1974 Open Championship, courtesy of his caddie dropping a second ball at the 71st hole after the South African hit his tee-shot in the rough. It is unmentioned no more.
How did he cheat? The first story provides some more details.
Eventually, the details came out… apparently one of Player's favorite tricks when he missed a fairway was to pull out a fairway wood and take a stance behind the ball - tamping the grass down - and then "changing his mind" and deciding to hit an iron. Obviously, this'll prevent the twisting irons are subject to when you're hitting down on a ball in the rough - and if you tamp it down enough, you might even be able to give yourself a clean lie that you could pick. That shot just became twenty times easier.
Again, the evidence was sketchy, until one of the posters weighed in - one who spent a lot of years covering the tour in the media. Gary's got the reputation, alright, he said; more than one long time pro talked about it from time to time. Tom Watson called him on it at one of the early Skins games, with a very Watson-esque "Gary, we're gettin' sick of this shit."
So there it is. The words "cheat" and "Gary Player" together.