Reflections after the Masters

The first Major of the year has come and gone – I have seen movies and sat in front of a TV watching The Masters Championship for 40 years and not once have I ever turned the TV off after the tournament ended on Sunday night (South African time!) without thinking how fortunate golfers are to play this wonderful game.

The enthusiasm for the game is evident in discussions following the tournament because there are always moments of brilliance to admire or heartache to ponder.  Watching a player in a winning position implode around the famous, or is it the infamous, ‘Amen’ corner can be gut-wrenching.

There were two moments that really grabbed my attention this year – particularly as I was watching TV with the KeNako students for the whole of the last round.  The first was the ‘Tiger’ incident which I believe is going to have a profound impact on the game as we know it.  Golf is one of the few if not the only self regulating game which for generations has inspired honesty, integrity, values, ethics and sportsmanship in participants.  It has been the accepted norm and a fundamental element of the game of golf that a player calls a penalty on himself if he has incurred one, even if his playing partners are unaware of his infringement.

Ignorance of the rules has never been an excuse (you would think that the Number 1 player in the world or his caddie would know the hazard rule) and while we all unintentionally infringe on the rules from time to time there is generally a repercussion in the form of a penalty or disqualification, either prior to signing one’s card or after the card has been signed.

There has never been ambiguity about signing for an incorrect scorecard but the rule which allowed Tiger to continue has created a situation where a decision based on the weight of a player’s conscience and their sportsmanship has been transferred to the tournament referee who has to now attempt to find out what a players intention was.

It is my opinion that the rules committee should not have allowed Tiger to continue and I think he would have gained a legion of fans if he had called time on this year’s tournament once he found out that he had infringed on the rules and signed for an incorrect score.  An automatic bi-product of such action and behaviour would have helped to ensure that the integrity of the game would have been safe for many years to come.

The second moment restored my faith in the game and it will be my lasting memory of the 2013 Masters.  When Angel Cabrera and Adam Scott gave each other the thumbs up on the second play-off hole, after two exquisite approach shots, it was a moment to remember – a fantastic display of sportsmanship under extreme pressure where their sole focus was to win the tournament.

The values of the game are discussed and implemented as an integral part of the program at KeNako and I for one hope that the ‘Tiger’ drop decision does not have a negative impact on the future of this wonderful game!



Roger Wessles
Head Coach