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Sung Kang cheated, additional witnesses say. What now?

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Yesterday, we discussed Joel Dahmen’s claims that Sung Kang took a bad drop at the 10th hole at the Quicken Loans National, Sunday.

Today, as we briefly touched on in Morning 9, more actors are joining the drama. Enter Michael Klock. (This would all be so much better if it were a pace of play dispute?). Anyway, Klock was the ShotLink volunteer on the 10th hole.

Klock, like Dahmen, is sure Kang’s ball never crossed the hazard (and thus he took an illegal drop).

“Kang’s second shot was very far left and at no point ever came close to being in bounds from the initial point of entry 225 yards or so back,” Klock told Golfweek Monday, also saying the ball was six or eight feet deep in the hazard.

“Kang was insistent (’95 percent sure’ in his own words) his ball came back and entered the hazard at about 35 yards out. I caught bits and pieces of the exchange, but the rules official did quote ’95 percent sure is not 100 percent sure’ before driving Kang back to look at the line again. Kang then returned and argued some more with Dahmen, to which (Dahmen) replied, ‘If you can sleep at night, then take your drop.”

Klock added that the rules official essentially deferred to Kang, saying that if he was sure his ball crossed the hazard, he should drop accordingly.

And further exhibits for the jury: some tweets.

And someone else who was there…

So, where are we at with this? Well, not only has the PGA washed its hands of the incident after the fact with the tersely worded statement and pledge to make no further comment, but it sounds like the rules official at the time absolved himself and left the decision totally up to Kang.

Is this right? Is this how rules officials are supposed to act? Should the Tour be doing more? How certain are we Sung Kang cheated? How much does it matter?

And more important than all the previous questions: what next?

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30 Comments

30 Comments

  1. joro

    Jul 9, 2018 at 12:12 pm

    Typical with the PGA rules non enforcement. If they warn for slow play, they warn and warn with no penalty. If you make rules you have to enforce them, not warn and warn and warn with no action. do the job right or not at all. PITIFUL !!!!!!!!!!

  2. John Krug

    Jul 5, 2018 at 10:13 am

    Trey Gowdy should investigate.

    • geohogan

      Jul 5, 2018 at 1:05 pm

      Sure and we will be lucky to get an answer in 2 years, like Benghazi.

  3. Darryl

    Jul 5, 2018 at 5:58 am

    Happens every week on tour if you watch the coverage, Phil gets away with questionable drops (and hitting moving balls, as does Tiger (he got one a couple of years ago, I cant remember where, but he gained at least 100 yards, and of course he was touch and go to make the cut on that occasion), as does DJ, Speith, Thomas etc etc ad infinitum……

    Kang gave the official an out by saying “95% sure”, the official should have had the stones to say “if you aren’t 100% certain buddy, I’m afraid you’ve got a 200 yard walk coming up”, its not Kang’s job to administer the rules, and before we get all Corinthian about this, this isn’t a Sunday morning fourball for $20, this is his career, livelihood etc doesn’t make it right, but makes it understandable.

  4. toyzrx

    Jul 4, 2018 at 10:40 pm

    All this is a social media BS. If he took an improper drop or not, the tournament is done with and his score is official. So let’s just get done with this annoying topic and publish something worth our time.

  5. Tartan Golf Travel

    Jul 4, 2018 at 5:22 pm

    The only thing that hurts Klock’s credibility is the fact that he keeps stating IB and OB. It was a hazard. It was nowhere near OB. That being said the official should have interviewed everyone around with out video evidence and based his decision on the best information he had. If no one was watching then the responsibility falls to the player to do the right thing but it appears several agreed Kang was wrong.

  6. bc

    Jul 4, 2018 at 4:48 pm

    How would this be treated differently if he (Kang) was in contention (all co-leaders) with the likes of Dustin Johnson, Jordan Spieth, Justice Thomas, Brooks Koepka, Jon Rahm, Rory McIlroy, Rickie Fowler and Jason Day to win one of the majors or the Players Championship? It would be treated differently!!!

    • Tartan Golf Travel

      Jul 4, 2018 at 6:30 pm

      There would be video.

      • bc

        Jul 4, 2018 at 9:43 pm

        So, is a video any better than numerous witness’ eyes? The answer is – NO!

        • Jon Burrows

          Jul 5, 2018 at 2:05 pm

          The answer is – ALWAYS.

          • bc

            Jul 6, 2018 at 9:02 pm

            Wrong Jon. Video is rarely positioned in-line with the ball flight path or line. Video is 2D whereas eyewitnesses see in 3D and have depth perception.

  7. Qrious

    Jul 4, 2018 at 12:40 am

    Does Dahmen get DQed for signing an incorrect scorecard? I mean Kang signed believing it is correct with 95% certainty, but Dahmen signed believing it is 100% incorrect.

    • tracey

      Jul 5, 2018 at 8:25 am

      no, if the marker refuses to sign. An official will step in and sign it. Which is what happened he said.

      • bbb

        Jul 5, 2018 at 10:12 am

        No, he said that’s what WOULD happen, so he signed it.

  8. DJ

    Jul 3, 2018 at 7:57 pm

    “How much does it matter?” Look at the prize money he won.

  9. jc

    Jul 3, 2018 at 5:03 pm

    kang got 487k for solo finish…if he had to take a penalty and drop and make the same putt, he falls into a tie for 5th, tiger and a few others move up…tiger got 312 for his tie money…so kang picks up ovr 200k for a wrong score.

  10. jc

    Jul 3, 2018 at 4:56 pm

    big diff in the official money he got paid

  11. millennial82

    Jul 3, 2018 at 3:31 pm

    WE MUST take Sung Kang’s trophy and give it to Joel Dahmen right NOW! THAT’S WHATS NEXT!!!!

    ..oh, wait a minute, Kang was T3 and Dahmen was T23..

    Only golfers who really care about this are slow playing golfers, who complain about the pace of play due to slow playing golfers.

    YES, you, you slow playing complaining weakling!

  12. Phil D. Snuts

    Jul 3, 2018 at 2:35 pm

    Let Joel dahman and sung kang put on some gloves and duke it out for the “irrelevant golfer at a third tier tournament” championship belt.

    • Phil Loves Nuts

      Jul 3, 2018 at 6:00 pm

      Yep…and you and I can battle it for irrelevant poster in third tier comments section.

    • aaron

      Jul 4, 2018 at 2:22 pm

      I agree, I hear Ernie Els offered his plane for the bout

  13. Whynotgolf

    Jul 3, 2018 at 2:32 pm

    FWIW I kind of side with Dahmen who is essentially trying to protect the field whereas Kang is basically trying to protect his pocket.

    When Kang said he was 95% sure, he obviously had some uncertainty. At that point the rules official has two totally different and adamant viewpoints of where the ball last cross the margin, etc. He should’ve asked if there were any other witnesses to the shot or video to support either side before making a ruling of any kind. If Dahmen did not have a view clear view of it, or wasn’t sure, I think taking the player’s word would’ve been more appropriate.

  14. saveva

    Jul 3, 2018 at 2:15 pm

    What now? I’m pretty sure the sky is going to fall, the pga tour is going to dissolve and golf is doomed. or… nothing. We just have a couple of guys certain Kang cheated wish they were Batman so they can bring justice.

  15. Sean

    Jul 3, 2018 at 1:42 pm

    Because the situation was ushered by an official, from what I have read it was handled the best it could have been within the rules. Therefore not exactly fair to call the guy a cheater.

    However, collecting all the witnesses statements after the fact it seems clear that Kang didn’t cross the margin. Unfortunately unless an overwhelming majority declare that the ball didn’t cross the margin in the moment, then it is up to Kangs descretion.

    An unfortunate shady area in the rules of the game. This is tip toeing in a similar fashion to Lexi Thompson’s ball marking incident. Don’t think there was anyone please about how that turned out…

    If Kang did knowingly take an illegal drop, he has to live with his decisions. Worst consequence imo

    • Jon Burrows

      Jul 5, 2018 at 2:03 pm

      Of course it’s fair to call the guy a cheater. The official relied on Kang’s word in order to allow the drop and you have several witnesses that said he was lying or at the very least completely delusional about where his ball crossed the hazard.

    • Boyo

      Jul 9, 2018 at 7:26 am

      Yeah, like he gives a flying f about “living with it”. Like all the other millions of robbing, lying, cheating, sob’s in this world…

  16. Lowell

    Jul 3, 2018 at 1:26 pm

    If the other player was so adamant then he should of had a rules official come over. Oh wait a minute one did come over and a judgment was made. Now you can call B.S. all you want but the ruling is over so move on. What does it get the player to keep on with trying to get Kang DQ’d or to keep the dialogue going. For those who have shot tracer, really keep it to yourselves unless like you said, you would treat every call into question mandatory for shot tracer surveillance. I dont know Kang nor probably care after I post this reply for those of you thinking I like the guy. Just plain and simple, a ruling was asked by the group for what was in question and a ruling was made.

  17. Hatch

    Jul 3, 2018 at 12:54 pm

    I’d be a bit hesitant to call him a cheater, but then again I wasn’t there. It’s not always easy to know if/where a ball crossed a hazard line. However, I would definitely believe the guy saying “IB” and “OB” when talking about dropping due to a hazard. Perhaps Michael and Bob were also wearing golf shoes while spectating and “doing SHOTlink”.

  18. Man

    Jul 3, 2018 at 12:18 pm

    Rules officials should have looked around the entire green for witnesses
    Kang should be retroactively DQed for signing an incorrect scorecard, and his winnings taken away and donated to a local charity

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19th Hole

68 at the British Open in the morning, golf with hickories at St Andrews in the afternoon

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Yes, golf fans, just another day in the charmed life (or week, at least) of one Brandon Stone.

Stoney (as I assume his friends call him), came to Carnoustie on the heels of a final-round 60 to win the Scottish Open. All he did in his opening round was fire a 3-under 68. Not bad!

But his Thursday to remember was only getting started as Stone made the 25-mile trip south to the Old Course to peg it…with a set of hickory clubs! Well played, sir, well played.

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19th Hole

Jean van de Velde’s 1999 British Open collapse is still tough to watch in LEGO form

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Gather ‘round, golf fans, for the saddest British Open story ever told–in LEGOs.

Maestro of the plastic medium, Jared Jacobs, worked his singular magic on Jean van de Velde’s notorious final-hole collapse at Carnoustie in 1999.

The interlocking plastic brick cinema begins after van de Velde’s approach shot has caromed off a grandstand railing to land on the opposite side of the Barry Burn.

 

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19th Hole

Sung Kang finally responds to cheating allegations

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Sorry to interrupt your regularly scheduled British Open programming, but Sung Kang stated today he still doesn’t think he didn’t anything wrong. “I followed the rules by the rules official…I think I did the right thing,” he said after his opening round at The Open.

Joel Dahmen, if you recall, accused the 31-year-old pro of taking a bad drop at the 10th hole during the final round of the Quicken Loans National.

The comments were Kang’s first public remarks since a statement co-released with the PGA Tour which said, “He is standing by the ruling that was made by PGA Tour Rules officials on Sunday and will have no further comment.”

While he stopped short of giving his side of the story, Kang did indeed make “further comment.”

Here’s some of what he said.

“I did not want to say anything bad about Joel. Because there can be difference of opinions. But the way he just said it on Twitter was not right. There can be different opinions. And also, it was made a decision by the rules official. So nothing was wrong.”

“I really want to say a lot of things about it, the truth about what happened, but no comment because I’m not going to say anything. I think I made the right decision. … Even when I say something, a few people still kind of think i still did something wrong. And if someone believes in me, they aren’t going to trust what Joel said.”

“No matter what I say, some people are going to trust it, some people are not going to trust it. And then I’m going to be thinking about it more and more. So I’m just focusing on my golf game.”

The British press asked Kang if he wishes he had done anything differently.

“No. Why? I did the right thing,” Kang replied.

Now, I’m not here to argue one way or the other, but the rules official wasn’t in position to do anything other than leave things at the player’s discretion, which he did. So, it’s misleading–if not downright deceptive–for Kang to suggest otherwise.

The official didn’t see the shot. There was no video of it. The only thing he had to rely on was the accounts of those who did see it. In a situation where accounts vary, and with the Rules of Golf relying on player integrity as they do, all he could do was leave the ball in Kang’s court. Thus, the decision as to where to drop was wholly Sung Kang’s.

Again, this isn’t to say the drop was necessarily bad, bad to play the “decision by the rules official” card is, well, a bad drop.

 

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