Commentary | Tiger Woods is many things, but not a cheater

October 24, 2013 

Woods Chamblee  Golf

FILE - In this Sept. 13, 2013, file photo, Tiger Woods checks his ball behind a tree behind the first green during the second round of the BMW Championship golf tournament at Conway Farms Golf Club in Lake Forest, Ill. Golf Channel analyst Brandel Chamblee says he insinuated that Tiger Woods cheated and gave the world's No. 1 player an "F" for his five-win season in a column he wrote for Golf.com because "ethics matter more than athletics." (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast, File)

CHARLES REX ARBOGAST — AP

Tiger Woods made headlines again.

But it wasn't his doing.

The Golf Channel analyst Brandel Chamblee wrote a report card-based column that ended by awarding Woods an "F" for Tiger's perceived ability to skirt the rules of golf to his benefit.

Basically, Chamblee referred to Woods as a cheater.

Well, Woods is a documented cheater when it comes to his personal life.

But golf?

Nope.

While Woods might have gotten away with playing the Masters after signing an incorrect scorecard, it wasn't as if Woods purposely took an incorrect drop and played the round with an advantage.

A rules official at Augusta National that day last spring allowed it to happen.

Woods wasn't to blame.

The critics will chime in to say, "But if it were any other golfer, would he get away with it?"

How about if it wasn't Woods, would it even have been a controversy? Maybe a television viewer wouldn't have called in to get the world's No. 1 player in trouble.

As a byproduct of the alleged cheating, Woods' legacy gets thrown about, too.

People continue to talk about whether he'll ever surpass Jack Nicklaus' golden mark of 18 career major championships.

And if he does, then the masses will be quick to anoint him as the greatest player ever.

Wrong, wrong and wrong.

The age-old sports debate about the greatest ever, no matter the sport, is getting quite tiresome, especially when it comes

to golf.

Listen, it makes for great water-cooler talk. But nobody will ever truly know who is the best of all-time because courses change, tournament fields are different, the equipment is different and none of the so-called best of his generation (Bobby Jones, Ben Hogan, Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods) will ever play against one another.

It's even worse in team sports, where players who play various positions are often compared against one another. Yet again, a fruitless effort for obvious reasons.

So let's keep it about the game and what the player has accomplished.

In 2013, Woods had some controversies, but he never violated the rules purposely without punishment from officials.

Heck, look at the local level here, where Monday's high school golf region championship at Capri Isles in Venice witnessed a rules injustice.

Plant City had a player who shot 80. A playing partner wrote down the score of each hole and added up the total to 80. The Plant City player signed the card, knowing that's what she shot. Problem is, the math added up to 79, and she is responsible for turning in the correct score of each individual hole.

She was disqualified for that rules violation. Had her score counted, Plant City would have advanced as the region runner-up to the state tournament by nine shots. Instead, they went home, taking the penalty without much recourse.

It's a beautiful game, but a headache-inducing sport.

Let's leave it at that.

Jason Dill, sports reporter, can be reached at 745-7017 or via email at jdill@bradenton.com. Follow him on Twitter @Jason__Dill

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