Showing posts with label cheating. Show all posts
Showing posts with label cheating. Show all posts

Monday, 20 August 2012

The Sapp factor - Part 1

'There's a fine line between trying to be funny and being a cynical, sad grump'. 

(Me, 5 minutes ago).

Golf can be a lot more difficult than I'd previously accounted for. It's next to impossible for me most of the time even without the added frustrations I'm going to focus on here. I'm sure a majority of mere mortal amateurs would agree.

I've been so preoccupied on 'internal' challenges. Shot techniques, swing mechanics and the psychology behind achieving a Buddha-like focus (and a winning mentality), to mention a few. With such a heavy workload, I neglected to consider what 'external' obstacles one might encounter on course to becoming a single figure player and / or champion in a major club event.

I'm talking about Stupendously Annoying Playing Partners. SAPPS, for convenience. You've probably got your own name for them. If it's rude, keep it to yourself. We're not here to offend anyone.

Oh go on, send me a private email ;)

The sight or sound of news that you've been drawn with a sapp brings hyperactivity to your adrenal gland. Perhaps this is how you feel every time you learn you've been drawn with me. Just ask @mattholbrook86

Many lists have been made to label and categorise the many sapp subtypes but I'm going to share my experiences with you in story form. Of course, this list is not exhaustive but I can assure you, all the experiences described below (and in Part 2) were exhausting.

1) Rules were meant to be broken (the same can be said for my sanity):

I'm no cheat. Golf has many rules, some of them ridiculous. We need only think back to what happened to Carl Pettersson in the PGA Championship recently when he moved a leaf / blade of grass / gnats whisker or some other inconsequential object on his backswing when his ball was inside the hazard lines.

I'm keen to learn but realise the only way to do so is to educate myself, make mistakes and be corrected. But please, break it to me gently. I'm of a delicate composition.

I've played with a few rules freaks over the years, it's nerve wracking. In their company, I struggle to make a swing at the ball  for fear of violating one rule or another and being subjected to a right old telling off and the humiliation that comes with it. Thereafter it's shank o' clock.

I've become better at dealing with this particular sapp subtype. As soon as I learn I've been drawn with one, I feign injury and then go home to Mum for a hug.

2) Cheats never prosper (yeah right)

Cheating sapps are on the other end of the spectrum. I've seen people cheat at golf without hestitation right in front of my eyes. One particular experience made me very sad. You can read about that here.

Let's not devote too much more space to them. Onwards and downwards...

3) It don't mean a thing if you ain't got that swing (54 handicappers)

A few weeks ago in our club Thursday swindle on a medal day, I got drawn out with a 28 handicapper. No problem, I'm not a snob. I've said it before, I put people before the golf. He's a nice guy. Very annoying (laughs at everything, even unfunny things, nervous chap), but a good human being. Did I mention he was annoying?

Anyway,  it was a good day for him - he had 16 points off his 28 handicap. He says things like:

'I remember when I was golfing in Vegas.' (I'm thinking, 'they must have had the Golden Tee video game in the casino.')

'I used to be able to play this game!' (I'm thinking, 'Not even in a past life could you do that')

'I'm just standing close to you to see if I can pick up on a few things' (I'm thinking, if you don't move NOW I'll decapitate you on my backswing'.)

'Thanks, for the game - enjoyed your company.' (I'm thinking, PLEASE GO AWAY AND DIE SLOWLY AND PAINFULLY!!!)

After our game, I was in a bit of a mood because I'd allowed him to steer the ship into an iceberg and I went down with it, as did the other two in our group. I had a 'quiet' word with the organiser. To summarise, his reply was:

'I know he's a pain in the arse but it was your turn today to carry the load. If you want to tell him that he's not welcome back, please feel free but you need to learn how to deal with people like that.'

Wise words from a wise man, a great golfer and someone I respect very much. Is there such a thing as a Sapp victims rehab clinic?

4. Over competitive underachievers (Chew on them, spit them out)

It's happened to me twice in a matter of weeks. I've been paired with guys who are so focused on beating everyone else in their 3/4 ball, they get sucked into a high blood pressure inducing space/time distorting vortex. It's fun to watch. But the game is a hard enough battle without having to battle a thwarted ego.

These are two things I recall hearing, one from each Sapp.

'Every time I try to beat you, you just pull away on points' (I'm thinking, 'Focus more on your game and less on mine and you might have a chance.)

On the 18th tee; 'We're level, if I get a par on this hole and you get a bogey - I win'. (I'm thinking, 'That's the first time in this round I thought about beating you because I'm trying to do my best / win a competition here.')

I think I'll wrap up this part of the post here, but hope you come back to read part 2 when I'll talk about:

Chatterboxes (Please shut it!)
Self destructors (They might kill you too.)
Snails (How to grow a full beard over 18 holes.)
Beginners (We were all there once, but would we go back?)
Golf bloggers (The most evil sapps of all, they kiss and tell).
Any others that you'd like to suggest?

Until then, it's farewell.


See you around!

Tuesday, 6 December 2011


**** Warning! This post contains asterisks. ****

: D

Back in August of this year, I had an interesting experience on the golf course. If you're someone I occasionally share banter with on Twitter you'll probably remember this conversation.

A friend and myself had entered into the Eastern division matchplay knockout of a competition organised by a well known golf social network. The end prize was a trip to Portugal to play in the finals. We gelled very well together and made it to the semi finals with a home draw. We were feeling confident, and had every right to, based on past results and the fact that we were both playing well at the time.

On the day of the match we met our opponents on the putting green. I must say regrettably my first subconscious reaction was not a positive one. I say 'regrettably' because I don't like to judge people so quickly but something just didn't feel right. Let's call it golfers intuition if such a thing exists! :)

We teed off, and by hole 4 we were 2 up even after a shaky start. I felt good because I could feel that 'in the zone' feeling coming on. You may know what I mean, you've won a couple of holes without playing great but you know it's only a matter of minutes before you get it together. The mood between my partner and I was relaxed, our rivals were quite wayward with their shots and they were quite aggressive in their language to one another. I sensed we'd have enough technically and mentally to beat them.

I hit the green of the par 5 4th hole in 4 shots and left myself with a 20 footer for par. My buddy was on the fringe in 4 and he had a shot on the hole whereas I didn't. Basically he needed an up and down or I needed to sink my putt to give us some chance.

What happened next shocked and saddened me and my buddy.

One of the guys on the other team fluffed his chip (3rd shot) from the fringe and left himself about 20 feet from the hole. It really was a bad chip. It didn't even go in the general direction of the hole. Almost a shanked chip I'd say with hindsight. I watched as he walked onto the green to his ball, stepped about 2 to 3 feet closer to the hole, bent down and placed his marker on the green. He then stepped back and picked up the ball. He'd cheated right in front of our eyes! I couldn't believe it.

Immediately, I piped up - 'I saw what you did there, you placed your marker about 3 feet closer to the hole!'

My buddy jumped in - 'Yeah, and I saw it too!'

The cheat opened his mouth, and gestured at me very aggressively - 'No I ******* didn't, **** off'.

At this point his partner joined in the argument and started accusing me and my partner of gamesmanship! The cheek of it!

The cheat spoke again - 'Alright, you can have the ******* hole then!'. (A confession?) 

In a fit of madness, I stood over my 20 footer and drained it into the hole! To this day I don't know how I managed to sink that putt, it was Zen like. I retrieved my ball and stormed off to the next tee, angry on the outside but wobbly on the inside!

We should have walked in and asked for a replay with a ref present or claimed the match. But we didn't, walking in didn't even cross my mind. My pride got the better of me and I decided to play on to try and beat them fair and square. I was very frustrated, truthfully quite edgy and unsettled by the whole affair and the aggression that came with it.

I'm going to end the story here. We lost on the 20th hole.

I hope I never witness this again on a golf course but if I do, I'll handle it in a different way next time.

Why would anybody want to cheat at golf? It doesn't make sense.