The game of Golf is unique in the sense that there are no referees to call a foul and no officials to slap a penalty. In Golf, the Rulebook is sacrosanct. The onus lies on the players to police themselves and to penalize themselves as per the rules. Golf is a Game of Honour and from centuries golfers have observed the traditions with pride, commitment and respect. On this very Foundation of trust and honesty, Golf has gained the reputation of a truly Gentleman's game.
All time Greats like Bobby Jones and Greg Norman have sacrificed huge tournament victories by penalizing themselves when no cameras or officials were watching. Bobby Jones famously said, “When you cheat in golf, the only person you are cheating is yourself “. In all other sports, some people consider it a skill to cheat without getting caught since referees are watching the game. But not in golf, where you decide what scores you are going to submit in the end. Indeed the temptation to cheat and win gets very high in golf as the chances of getting caught are very slim.
A famous businessman never closed a business deal without playing a round of golf with the other person because he believed that it exposed the character of the person more than any other investigation. So we, as a golfing community, are torchbearers of highest moral standards of sportsmanship and integrity.
It's high time that we golfers understand that the game has to be a “Game of Honour”. We are not playing for our livelihoods – this is our Passion, our Pleasure, our Meditation. We enter and leave the field with a clear Conscience – either that or we would be better off not playing at all. We are here to strengthen our characters not to lose them so winning at any cost should not be our motive. Do we want to hold the trophies with our heads high or with heavy hearts and burdened minds? The choice is entirely ours and in the meantime, let us not break the true golfing traditions by putting up referees. I am sure that ultimately the spirit of Golf, the power of Truth and the voice of Conscience will prevail on our golf course also.
- Vijay Kotawala