People who compete in golf have no one else to blame when they lose. It’s just you against your opponent. There are no substitutions, e.g. put in someone who putts better than you do when you have a tricky eight footer. Conversely, you know when you win, you did it (with help from your caddie, coaches, medical staff, etc. but the point is, you did it. You hit all the shots.
Fair and square. Everybody plays by the same rules. The difference is that in golf, the rules are sacred. You don’t have other people blowing whistles for you or against you. In other sports someone else enforces the rules and when the players disagree with the (paid) officials’ calls, they show their displeasure sometimes by yelling through mouthpieces and body language (football), other times by “showing up the referee” by running down the court or some other theatrics (basketball), or the ultimate - making a jackass out of yourself by screaming at the authority figure, nose-to-nose - with your hat on backward (baseball).
Because others enforce the rules in team sports, the players will do whatever they can to influence the officials’ calls. Including flat out cheating. One of the stories people have been talking about the past few days is the recent (absurd) “flop” by Chris Bosh of the Miami Heat. The referee waved off a basket by the Spurs at a crucial spot in the game. How much the outcome was affected is up for debate but the fact that, after watching the replay and seeing how boldly Bosh cheated, begins a debate on integrity vs. gamesmanship.
Dirk Nowitzki, one of the better floppers in the league, said he thinks flopping is part of the game. While the NBA is naturally opposed to intentional illegal play - and because they won’t subscribe to Dirk’s philosophy - what can be done? This year the league office has been doling out fines but, really, with how much the players make, and the fact the calls can’t be retroactive, the fines are like putting a bandaid on cancer. Example: Chris Bosh is making $17,540,000 this year and was fined $5K for the dive he took. That would be like fining a guy making $100,000 a grand total of $28.50.
Golf, on the other hand, expects the players to call fouls against themselves. Purists were incensed that Tiger Woods didn’t disqualify himself when he took an illegal drop a month or so ago even though the move didn’t have much of an impact on the tournament and, if you believe Tiger, he didn’t realize what he did was against the rules.
Bill Bennett’s quote might just serve people from both sides:
“When what we want to do and what we ought to do are two different things, character is built in the choice we make.”