Sports Outside the Beltway

LPGA Tour to conduct cheating inquiry

Steve Elling at CBS Sports has more on the incident at the CN Canadian Open which I wrote about yesterday.

Initially, the LPGA seemed satisfied with the player actions and sanctions.

“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,” a spokesman said Saturday. “We know only that the players came forward, admitted their issue and received the appropriate result based on the rules of golf.”

However, that stance has clearly changed.

LPGA communications chief David Higdon confirmed Sunday morning to that the tour intends to interview all the parties involved and then mull a possible course of action.

“We have treated this situation very seriously, and have or will speak to all principles involved,” Higdon said in an email Sunday morning. “Yes, we are looking very closely at it.”

The LPGA has had issues in the past with South Korean natives, who have been accused by other players of bending rules by conversing with friends or parents and receiving advice in their native tongue, among other perceived violations. The LPGA at one point put players on notice that such conversations and interaction would not be tolerated. One longtime LPGA caddie with his own blog site claimed this weekend that Korean players have been getting away with rules violations for years, causing some to accuse him of racism.

The LPGA has to investigate what happened, and if Ahn and Chung’s actions were deliberate, they should be suspended from the tour. Ryan at Waggle Room now writes

On Saturday evening, Waggle Room learned that it was Ahn’s caddie who told the story direct to Smich but may not be willing to share details publicly for fear of being shunned in the golf community.

Ahn’s caddy could be in position of causing great harm to a pro golfer’s career and reputation. It is very understandable why he wouldn’t want to talk publicly.

One last comment about Smich. He has a long history of making derogatory comments about the South Korean players. People who have read his blog for any length of time, would have a basis to say he is a racist. I think his anger at being fired by Mi Hyun Kim 11 years ago has made him very bitter and his lack of success as a caddie of late,(He hasn’t been close to a winning bag in all the time he’s blogged, and if I checked, the top 20 finishes of his players in that time can be counted on one hand easily) caused his feelings to turn to hate or racism. His outspokenness has undoubtedly caused these players also not to want to hire him.

Interestingly enough I checked Smich’s archives, he worked for Ahn once at the Wegmans. So he has caddied for both Ahn and Chung in the past.

At the CN Canadian Open, Michelle Wie has a 2-shot lead with 5 holes to go.

Hat tip- Geoff Shackelford

Update- Golf writer and blogger Bob Weeks has more

A source told me on Sunday that the two players allegedly knew about the mix up by the time they reaced the scorer’s tent and discussed it in Korean, agreeing not to bring it up. The source then alleged that Ahn’s caddie also knew about the situation and threatened to turn them in.

Reportedly, the players waited two hours after their final round before contacting the LPGA Tour to report the incident, calling from their hotel.

Weeks is a much more credible source than Larry Smich. Chung and Ahn are in for big trouble.

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