Sports Outside the Beltway

Did LPGA Golfers Shi Hyun Ahn and Il Mi Chung cheat at the CN Canadian Open?

LPGA Blogger and Caddie Larry Smich wrote the following-

Finally, caught in the act! All this time, I’ve been detailing cheating by the Koreans and been called a racist and more for my observations. Even been taken to the woodshed by the head honcho. Well yesterday, it all became evident that I was spot on. Did you notice that Shi Hyun Ahn and Ilmi Chung were disqualified? The reason is that they both played the wrong ball on their final hole and not correcting the infraction before signing their cards, to put it mildly.

Here is what I’ve heard of the alleged incident. Both balls were in the fairway. Ahn missed the green and Ilmi hit hers on. Ahn chipped it close and tapped in for par. This is where it all begins. Apparently, Ahn noticed that this was not her ball and conversed in Korean with Ilmi. In the mean time, at least one caddie in the group noticed it also but did not say anything. They finished the hole, went to the scoring tent, checked the scores and signed their cards. Somewhere, either before or after going to the tent, Ahn told her caddie (a Nationwide looper and only working for her this week) “You did not see anything”. As of right now, I do not know who owned up and went to the officials. The third player in the group was oblivious to the situation and was not involved. BTW, Ahn shot 72 and Chung a 76.

Before I go any further I’ll give some background on Smich and the golfers he is accusing. He has been an LPGA caddie for over 30 years. In that time, he has had three winning bags. The last of which was with Mi Hyun Kim in 1999. Shortly after that win, Kim fired Smich.

Smich has worked for other South Korean players, but the last was over two years ago. He did work for Chung at some point in the middle of the last decade.

Anyone who reads Smich’s blog knows he doesn’t like the Korean players. Ryan at Waggle Room uses the word vendetta towards how Smich writes about players from South Korea. In 2007, Smich also accused LPGA player Young Kim of cheating. Most of the time Smich doesn’t name players when he makes cheating allegations.

Ahn is a one-time winner on the LPGA Tour and was the 2004 Rookie of the Year. She is a looker, and is nicknamed Cinderella. I get lots of hits at my home blog from people looking either for Ahn photos or are looking to find out what golfer is nicknamed Cinderella.

At the 2009 LPGA Championship, a golf ball of Ahn’s struck and killed a bird.

Chung has never won on the LPGA Tour and since the retirement of Pearl Sinn, I believe she is the oldest South Korean born player on the LPGA Tour.

Ryan at Waggle Room apparently got someone to corroborate part of what Smich says(Remember he didn’t see it happen)

We have learned of a second account of the situation. The second account is all the same until the green.

When Ahn and Chung realized what had happened, Chung’s caddy approached Downey’s caddy and said, “We have a bit of a problem, but I’m not saying anything.” Downey’s caddy went into the scoring tent. Ahn and Chung signed for their scores. Downey’s caddy was prepared to turn in Ahn and Chung, which then prompted their seeking of LPGA officials for a ruling and their certain disqualification.

The LPGA’s Mike Scanlan also made the following comment to Ryan-

“The players sought out a rules official after their round to explain the situation and were subsequently disqualified.

“No one with the LPGA was privy to any discussions between the players and caddies in advance of the players’ efforts to seek out a rules official to explain the situation. We know only that the players came forward, admitted their issue and received the appropriate result based on the Rules of Golf.”

Bob Weeks, who is also blogging on the incident, went looking for Larry Smich at the tournament. Interestingly enough, Smich couldn’t be found. The golfer who he was caddying for, Stephanie Loudon, had her husband carrying her bag for the third round.

At the moment, the golf tournament is on television, and so far as I know, no mention has been made of the Ahn and Chung incident.

Deliberate cheating in professional golf is very serious and not unheard of. A Latin American player was suspended by the PGA Tour around 40 years ago. Jane Blalock was suspended for a year by the LPGA in 1972. That was till she filed a antitrust lawsuit. The accusations against Blalock was probably the sport’s biggest cheating scandal of the last 50 years. She was one of the tour’s stars at the time. What we have today involves two fairly obscure players. I don’t know if we’ll ever learn what did happen. The golf media rather write repetitive article after repetitive article on Tiger Woods than give the LPGA even five minutes of their time.

On a side note, Michelle Wie is leading the Canadian Open. Should she hold on to win, the LPGA attention deficit might decrease at least for one week.

Note- The first photo above is Ahn and the second is Chung.

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