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We have an article, written long ago by I-no-longer-remember-who, here: https://thesandtrap.com/b/swing_thoughts/he_cheated.

It discusses some very brief bits about how Gary Player may have cheated a few times. Recently, someone commented on the article with a link to this video.

Watch the little bit at 0:08:

Here are some screenshots (though, IMO, the video is more damning):

player.jpg

Why do that?

Did Gary Player cheat (or breach the rules) by improving his lie here? You can move loose impediments, but this appears to be an area of sand and/or loose soil.

Or maybe the rules were different then?

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I can’t imagine a rule that would’ve allowed that. Picking up a loose impediment is one thing, but like you said he was in a sandy area and didn’t move a ‘loose impediment’ he just plain made a clearing for his back stroke. I vote he cheated. Maybe a poll?

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Say it ain't so...Joe.

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2 hours ago, Piz said:

Say it ain't so...Joe.

We've known it's so for decades. 

One thing I can be pretty sure of is that he didn't know about the overhead camera. One of the all-time cranks pf the game. Nicklaus gave up even pretending to believe his exaggerations and lies. And we all know what Watson said to him.

Edited by leftybutnotPM

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4 hours ago, leftybutnotPM said:

And we all know what Watson said to him.

No we don't!  What was it!?

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These players are so good, he definitely made it LOOK like an accident 👀, but was it that or was it on purpose? Was there definitely intent? Or does that not matter?

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4 minutes ago, Groucho Valentine said:

So who cares? 

Many people care.

We know you don’t care about the Rules. That is well established.

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7 minutes ago, iacas said:

Many people care.

We know you don’t care about the Rules. That is well established.

I care about common sense. Not self righteous zealotry. 

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Borderline and not enough to suggest cheating in my opinion. Don’t underestimate how much your hand eye coordination deteriorates on a lefty shot. I have whiffed balls trying to hit them lefty before. It’s not out of the question to think his practice takeaway might be a bit too low on a opposite handed shot.

And not only did he gain no advantage, there was really no advantage to be gained. Even if he dug a 6 inch trench behind his ball, he still has to make a clean ball first strike, which he did.

i vote “nothing to see here”

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I don't know if he intentionally did it or not, but it does seem that he improved his lie by clearing out some loose dirt in that practice swing.

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45 minutes ago, billchao said:

I don't know if he intentionally did it or not, but it does seem that he improved his lie by clearing out some loose dirt in that practice swing.

This is my impression as well.  He moved material away from behind his golf ball, that seems like improving his lie.  Intent doesn't matter, here's the rule in effect in 1974:

Quote

Rule 17.  Improving Lie or Stance and Influencing Ball Prohibited

 

1. Improving Line of Play or Lie Prohibited
A player shall not improve, or allow to be improved, his line of play, the position or lie of his ball or the area of his intended swing by moving, bending or breaking anything fixed or growing, or by removing or pressing down sand, loose soil, cut turf placed in position, or other irregularities of surface which could in any way affect the player's lie

I believe he violated the underlined bit by moving loose sand from behind his ball.  If he had done that when making his real swing, it would have been OK, but this was a practice swing.

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1 hour ago, Groucho Valentine said:

Seems like trying to invent a way to penalize somebody. He wasn't in a hazard area and the ball didn't move. So who cares? 

Really?   I can step down hard behind my ball to give a lie that’s almost as good as teeing it up.  That’s not allowed either.   

There’s doubt that the rule was breached.  Whether it was intentional “cheating” or not, I can’t say...

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This is the last hole of a tournament he won by four strokes.  It doesn't make sense that he was intentionally cheating.  It doesn't seem like it even registered to him that this may have been illegal.  

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54 minutes ago, DaveP043 said:

Intent doesn't matter, here's the rule in effect in 1974:

I didn't think intent mattered but I also didn't want to make the assumption.

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