Cheating on the LPGA
Did Young Kim cheat last weekend at the Ginn Open? The South Korean golfer was disqualified.
Players DisqualifiedIf you're not familiar with Young Kim, a non-winner on the LPGA Tour, here's her bio from Seoul Sisters.com.
Birthday: February 2, 1980Young has been a steady but unspectacular player in her four years on the LPGA Tour.
Rookie Year on LPGA: 2003
Birth Place: Chunchon, South Korea
Young Kim turned pro in 1998 at the age of 18. She played on the KLPGA for five years, winning twice. She played on the Futures Tour in 2001, winning once. In 2002 she excelled on the KLPGA, finishing fifth on the money list. At the 2002 LPGA Q-School she was the top Korean finisher, with a tie for 4th to earn exempt status for 2003. She then signed a new contract with sponsor Shinsegae.
2003 was a solid year for her. She finished 9th in her first LPGA event, the Welch's/Fry's Championship. She only played two Majors in 2003, and got top tens in both: tied for 6th at the LPGA Championship and tied for 9th at the British Open. Late in the year she returned to Korea and won two KLPGA events there.
Young Kim finished the year 44th on the LPGA money list, easily retaining her exempt status. She also finished second in the Rookie of the Year race, ahead of such well known players as Suzann Pettersen, Christina Kim, Raquel Carriedo and Paula Marti.
In 2004, Young Kim had another solid but unspectacular year. She finished 44th on the money list for the second year in a row, notched 3 top tens, and finished in the top 30 in three of the four Majors she played.
In 2005 she improved significantly. For the first time, she finished within the top 30 on the money list, and had her best ever career finish, a third place finish at the British Open. She had six total top tens, and challenged for the title of the Mizuno Classic, which she led the first two days. She finished about at the same spot on the 2006 money list, and accumulated five more top tens.
There was nothing in the press about Young Kim's disqualification last week. Instead what happened is described by Larry Smith, a LPGA Caddy who writes the blog, Life on Tour. Larry wrote the following about last week's Ginn Club Open-
Gotcha! One Korean was penalized for (dare I say the word) cheating and one was DQ'd. In-Bee Park apparently was soliciting advice from her mom and got two for the effort, and Young Kim left the scoring area before confirming her scores (evidently it was less than what she what she actually shot). Bye-bye.Did this really happen? If so, this is disturbing news about an LPGA golfer.
Now, the rest of the story: I got the real poop on the Young Kim incident from someone who was there. She had left a putt on the lip of one hole and, in frustration, whiffed the tap-in going right over the top of the ball. It was obvious to one of the other players and her caddie what she had done and called her on it. Young denied it was an attempt to putt out and that she was only taking a practice stroke (no one takes a practice stroke on a one incher). This went all the way into the scoring area but she held firm. Finally, as the were leaving, she relented and admitted the omission out of embarrassment. They returned to change a five to a six but it was too late. She had left the scoring area (designated each week) and the five was recorded. Since she had signed for a lower score she was DQ'd.
Now for a little bit of background and history. It's well known that a whiffed putt like described above, cost Hale Irwin a playoff at the 1983 British Open. Because of the whiff, Hale finished second one shot behind Tom Watson.
Also there is this story about a PGA tour cheating at Q school. I have it on reliable info that it was Paul Azinger that the author of the Washington Post article was discussing.
In 1957 Jackie Pung signed for an incorrect scorecard at the US Open which caused her disqualification. If not, Jackie would have won the tournament.
Now back to what happened at the Ginn Open. I read what Larry wrote last Sunday. I went about trying to confirm the story. First I wrote Craig Dolch, golf writer/blogger for The Palm Beach Post. I know Craig slightly. Craig could only confirm that Young was DQd for signing an incorrect scorecard.
So I emailed Larry and another tour caddie I have email addresses for. I did this last Monday and Tuesday. Neither has replied.
So did what Larry describe really happen?
Pro- It would appear to be libel to tell such a story if it really didn't happen. So if Larry is making it up, he's opening himself to a possible lawsuit.
In 2002 or 2003, LPGA Commissioner Ty Votaw, called a meeting of all the then Korean golfers on the LPGA Tour. What was discussed has never been clearly reported but there were rumors of misconduct by a few of the players or their parents.
Con- Larry, a thirty-year veteran caddy of the LPGA, clearly does not like the Korean ladies of the LPGA Tour. For in the same post, Larry wrote.
Incidents like these have been plaguing the tour ever since the flood of Korean players. You just don't hear about them and for good reason. One caddie's life was even threatened (a few years back) by a player's father for admitting she had double-hit a chip! The threat was confirmed by others but nothing was ever done. Another player's dad dropped a ball out of his pocket when his daughter's could not be found. How did they know? They eventually discovered the original. Still another kicked out his offspring's ball from behind a bush which was witnessed by another player' mom.The above name calling could be taken as evidence that Larry is one very disgruntled former caddy for a Korean player. Larry's last winning bag on the LPGA was in 1999 for Mi Hyun 'Peanut' Kim. Shortly after that win Larry was fired by Mi Hyun. Could Larry be carrying a grudge because of that? If you look through his blog postings(He has been writing since 2003) he has worked for 10-20 different players at least. None of whom has had much luck with Larry on their bag. On the other hand Peanut has won six more times since 1999, her best season being last year.
I think it's time for a descriptive moniker for players like these. Given one of their favorite foods is kimchi, "kim-cheater" seems appropriate. Think I may get into a spot of hot water after this commentary? Doubt if you'll see me toting one of their bags in the near future.
Also why doesn't Larry name the other players involved in incidents? He named Young, so why the secrecy about the others?
Obviously the information is at least second hand. Larry wasn't present.
Did Young Kim cheat? I lean torwards believing Larry despite having a few reservations. Anyone else want to state their opinion.
Linked to- Basil, Bullwinkle, The World According to Carl,