‘Cheating’ Talk Is Kind Of Groovy

Bobby Curran
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Friday - February 10, 2010
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Phil Mickelson chips with a Ping wedge

As if the PGA didn’t have enough to worry about with Tiger Woods absent from the tour, now they have to deal with one member, Scott McCarron, calling Phil Mickelson - the biggest name in golf right now - a cheater. Of course, McCarron says he didn’t exactly call Mickelson a cheater. He said that anybody using the Ping Eye 2 wedges with square grooves is cheating, and that Mickelson ought to be ashamed for using them.

Close enough. The PGA is in an awkward position because of the U.S. Golf Association’s legal settlement with Ping that grandfathered the Eye 2 wedges.

But McCarron needs to take a refresher class in logic. The Ping wedges are approved for use. Therefore, anyone using them is within the rules and is not cheating. Period.

Many people believe that long and belly putters that some golfers employ, including McCarron, should be illegal because they provide a fulcrum and stability, but they too are approved. Ergo, the use of them is not cheating. Is this a difficult concept?


 

I’m especially enjoying the argument that the use of the Ping wedge violates the spirit of the rules. This is a game where signing an incorrect scorecard gets you tossed, where kneeling on a towel over wet ground to keep your pants clean gets you similarly DQ’d. The rules of golf have no spirit. They are intractable, and that is fine. It’s time for golfers like McCarron to just get on with it.

If you think the upcoming NCAA basketball tournament isn’t big business, try to wrap your head around this: The NCAA is contemplating opting out of its $6 billion contract with CBS!

Apparently the NCAA believes the property is worth even more, particularly if they expand to 96 teams.

As one wag pointed out, you can have a bad Super Bowl or a bad World Series but there is never a bad March Madness. The sheer number of teams guarantee a compelling product.

Adding to the luster is the fact that any one of about 15 teams could realistically win the title, although I’m betting that the school that ends up hoisting the trophy will begin with the letter K.

If you got a chance at reincarnation, coming back as a flame-throwing pitcher might not be a bad idea. The Detroit Tigers avoided arbitration with Justin Verlander by agreeing to a five-year, $80 million contract, and every penny is guaranteed.

Let’s see - work every fifth day for seven months and make approximately the GNP of a small third world nation. Nice work if you can get it. The free agent market has tightened up considerably for position players, but a proven arm still commands the large dollars.


With signing day last Wednesday, the college football recruiting season is mostly complete. And I’m reminded that the process is unwieldy. The system of verbal commitments accompanied by soft commits, decommits, pulled offers, gray shirts and overcommits is truly a mess.

So much is riding on the choice made by a 17-year-old student athlete that it reduces the grown men recruiting them to tactics that are at the least unsavory and at worst unethical or illegal.

Most people involved agree that changes should be made, but nobody I’ve heard of has yet come up with anything viable.

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