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How Far Do You Go To Win...???

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In a way this has been touched upon in the "How Competitive Are You" thread, but I've got a bit of a different take on it....

So, how far do you go to win? Do you use mind games? Do you not call penalties on yourself when no-one sees them?

As I mentioned in that other thread I am ultra competitive, it's actually the standing joke in my family, for me that means winning, not coming second or third....winning. BUT, not at all costs.

I had the quarter final of our Club Champs on Saturday and we were all square playing the eight hole - a 158 mtr par 3, downhill a little bit, facing the ocean and playing into a howler. I hit the best iron shot of the day for me and knocked a punched 4 iron to about 8 feet (I normally hit that club about 175-180mtrs so that's how hard it was blowing - click the link in my sig to see a pic of the 8th hole....). My opponent had just played and put his in the front bunker. He managed to splash out but still had 20-25 feet for par, which he ended up missing. So 2 putts from 8 feet for the win....easy I hear you say, and that's what was going through my mind.

There was a problem though - as I said, the wind was howling across the sea and the beach and straight across the hole, my ball had stopped on the top of a ridge (6 inches to the right and it would have gone down the ridge to the hole....) and when I replaced it on the green and stood over it, the ball was wobbling away in the wind. I waited quite a while and once it stopped I grounded the club, was about to stroke it down the idge when it toppled over just slightly, but definately moved. I knew it had straight away. So I stopped, replaced the ball and 2 putted....for my 4 and the half.

The 3 others in the group couldn't believe it, they were like "I didn't see it move - are you sure?" But I knew it had, and not for one second did I think not to call the penalty stroke on my self, they were all in a bit of shock - my opponent actually said "That's very good sportsmanship Robert", but I thought to myself not really the ball moved, and the rule is you replace it and get a penalty stroke.

So, what about all of you? What similar stories do you have? Or maybe ones of people you've played who didn't call the penalty?

I have another one I'll share with you in a bit

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we were playing a tournament and it was me (at a 1 handicap) and my friend (a 4) against two other great golfers. there was a monsterous 487 yard uphill par 4 that we were playing...both me and my partner put ours on the green and one pof the guys put it close. the other guy however, hit his OB...

we went up to look for it and we had all seen it go OB, even his partner had said it...it frickin flew over the stake...so we went up to look just to satisfy the beriddled golfer and what does HE find? a golf ball...except it was different than the one he said he was playing...hmm

so after a bit of an argument we let him hit, we were up 5 holes after 5 anyways so why complain...so he hit his shot and it went flying over the green..ok right? who really cares? oh no...

"That wasn't my ball, i have mine right here!"
yup, he said it...so after 5 minutes of explination and rules book pointing, we finally caught a rules official and he went and explained it to him, thank God...my millions of rules books paid off in the long run, and we swept the match 8 and 7...

I love to win. but cheating is a low i will never commit to. I cant have a true handicap if i cheat, and its only going to hurt me to cheat...mind games are ok depending on the situation...the people i play with on a regular basis do it with me all the time, and they say I'm the only one with a tough enough mind game to keep it outta my head...thank God...the shit they throw at me is enough to make you cry laughing..."Hey mike, is that a 7 iron? my wife is 6 months pregnant and even her fetus could hit an 8...just so you know..."

It gets worse, but those phrases cant be seen in public places...

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I have two rules,
1. If were just playing, do what you want.
2. If were playing for anything;you better play by the rules, I'm watching and I know the rules pretty good.

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My other story...

When I was still playing at my previous club I played with someone I had regularly played with in the Club Champs Qualifying 2 round. We had already played 9 holes and this guy was doing ok, and on course to qualify.

He hit a poor drive down the right of the par 5 and under some trees, he proceeded to take a few practise swings over his ball and in the process knocked a large-ish branch off of this tree.

After he had hit his shot I let him know what had happened and that it was a 2 stroke penalty. He took it ok, and we carried on the round - he actually played really well after that, making a couple of bidies mixed with a few pars and bogies.

When we were exchanging cards at the end of the ound he started complaining to me that it shouldn't have been a penalty and that I had a smarmy look on my face. I told him that you can't know leaves off of a tree let alone a branch and that it constitutes improving your lie/area of intended swing. He disputed this and got the commitee involved (who all happened to be his mates) they went out to the place where it happened and promptly over ruled me.

I went nuts - they all completely lost my respect and this was one of a few reasons that led me to move clubs.

In my opinion if you knock a branch down, it's a penalty, no question. Take the penalty and move on.

The guy ended up qualifying for the Plate competition, which is for those who didn't qualify for the Championship Division but still finished in the top 32 of the qualifying. He got knocked out in the first round..!!!!! I just consider him a cheat now, and won't play with him again - would be hard to considering I'm at another club anyway..!!!!

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I'll do whatever it takes to win.

But "winning" clearly doesn't involve cheating. It also does not involve anything which would taint the victory in my mind, and that includes things like gamesmanship, etc.

What pride could anyone take in beating someone by cheating or using trickery or gamesmanship to do it? Anyone who does that to me usually won't get a second match.

If you win by doing these things, you know it, and I can't imagine how bad that feeling would be. I accidentally added up my score incorrectly my first year playing golf and thought I beat someone (total stroke play). When I later found out we'd only tied, I felt worse than I'd have felt if I had just lost.

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I don't do anything special. I'm trying to beat the opponent with my game and my game only. Maybe that's why I was out in semifinals of my club championship three straight years but I think any other way of "winning" can't be enjoyable.

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I am a COMPLETE stickler for the rules, if it moves I call it, if I'm not sure of a ruling play two balls and ask for a ruling at the end, I'll do everything that I can to play to the rules.

Gamesmanship if kept purely psychological however, I have absolutely nothing against in a matchplay situation. I won't stoop to calling lousy rule infractions, for example if I notice my opponent tees up in front of the markers I'll tell him before he tees off rather than calling a penalty after he plays, but if I can mess with his head I'm in there...
  • If my opponent is old/fat/unfit/all of the above I will walk as fast as I can and carry on a conversation with him whilst doing whatever I can to get him to keep up without being overly obvious. 9 holes of this and he's completely out of breath and the game is yours.
  • If my opponent is not of the talkative type, I'll talk to him as much as I can. If he likes to talk, I will go the silent route.
  • If I have the honour on a par three with trouble over the green and I mishit a 5 iron and come up short I'll mention to my caddie how well I just hit that 4 iron. I'll do the opposite if I fly a green or the troubles over the back etc.
  • If my opponent is watching my clubs, I'll have completely fictitious discussions with my caddie about what I am going to hit.
  • If playing matchplay I'll watch my opponent on the putting green for a few minutes before playing if I haven't played him before. If he looks a bit dodgy on the old 3 footers I'll give him all of his two footers early on, when we get to the 7th and he has a left to right 2 and a half footer and he looks at me for a gimme I'll just look the other way. Oftentimes your opponent will be abit pissed off you didn't give him the putt, plus it's been an hour and a half since he last holed a 2 footer. Might just win you a hole.

That's not even a hundredth of what I'll do. As I said, I will never cheat, but if I can put an opponent off their game, I'll do it every time.

By the way, the all time best bit of gamesmanship I have personally witnessed was done to me 20 years ago by an old guy. I was a few up and as we were strolling down the fairway the old bastard asked me if I had ever broken my left arm. When I said no and asked him why he asked, he told me that it looked bent when I set up to the ball, that's why he was asking. For the next 9 holes I'm doing nothing except looking at my supposedly bent arm from every conceivable angle, by which time the old bugger is 5 up and the match is over. It wasn't until after the game that I realised what he'd just done. I mentioned the "bent arm" comment to someone else in the club a few days later and he nearly pissed himself laughing, apparently it was an old trick used by the very same old bugger on every kid he played against!

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That's not even a hundredth of what I'll do. As I said, I will never cheat, but if I can put an opponent off their game, I'll do it every time.

I suppose my main problem with gamesmanship - aside from the sheer idiocy of it and those who try it on me - is that it not only puts the opponent off their game, but it puts YOU off your game too. Why walk faster or slower than normal, talk more or less than normal, make silly comments, etc. if that's not what you normally do to play

your game? I love it when someone tries to use gamesmanship on me. I know in my mind that they feel weak, and that they're putting themselves off their game by doing it.

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I suppose my main problem with gamesmanship - aside from the sheer idiocy of it and those who try it on me - is that it not only puts the opponent off their game, but it puts YOU off your game too. Why walk faster or slower than normal, talk more or less than normal, make silly comments, etc. if that's not what you normally do to play

It doesn't bother me in the least if it doesn't work on you, I'll just keep right on doing it regardless. Maybe the "sheer idiocy" as you put it will have an effect eventually and if not then I'm not really doing anything different or out of the ordinary, I have been doing it for so long that it

is very normal for me. After 20+ years of it if I were to try to stop it would be a bad thing for me. I think that it's got a bit to do with the Aussie psyche, we even have a name for it. We call it "sledging" By the way, if we are playing in a strokeplay tournament or are just out for a hit I can be a very nice guy to play golf with!

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The only type of gamesmanship I ever use is to give a player a putt early in the round and then not concede a shorter putt later on.

Other than that, I find I play the best if I just focus on my game and the course. I figure the match will work itself out. I'll obviously stay aware of my opponent and where he stands, but I try not to change the way I play too much.

Like Erik said, you shouldn't alter the way you play the game too much...it can throw you off more than your opponent.

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...Like Erik said, you shouldn't alter the way you play the game too much...it can throw you off more than your opponent.

sometimes you have to... i.e. in my semifinal match @ club championship (yeah, the one I lost, shut up

) I was 250 away on par 5 15th, 3 down with 3 (+15th) to go, opponent laid up. Tough approach shot. I'd never go for it in a stroke score, unless it's a casual round. This time IMHO - I had no choice - he was hitting his irons pretty good, so par was for him a 99% possibility. 3W to the fringe, two-putt birdie - hole won. Par 16th - 290 slight uphill, but downwind. I know him well, he's hitting the big stick. If he gets on the green - all I can do is push - not good enough in this situation... change of play - driver, just short, chipped up - birdie to win (he missed drive left, chipped out of the trees and saved a par). What happend after it is not important but my point is - I'd DEFINITELY play it different in stroke play event...

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