Loopholes. Use ‘em If You Got ‘em.
by Gus Jarvis
Feb 04, 2010 | 1399 views | 0 0 comments | 12 12 recommendations | email to a friend | print
In our world of sports flunkies, it seems there are cheats of every kind. And we sports junkies despise cheats in every way.

We can’t stand the fact that baseball players like Mark McGwire and Alex Rodriquez have admitted to cheating by using steroids, yet they are still in the running for the Baseball Hall of Fame.

There are cheats like Pete Rose, who have it worse. He had a bit of a gambling problem while playing baseball and we haven’t yet found it in our hearts to forgive him. It looks like Rose will never be allowed into Cooperstown because of his past even though he is one of the absolute best players of all time.

And then there are the cheats we just love to hate, like Tiger Woods. At first he was the hard-nosed, serious golfer, intense on being the best and making the most money. He was the face of perfection. After his Thanksgiving mishap in his neighbors’ yard, he is now considered a sex addict father of two children (how many more?) who can’t seem do to anything right. He’s total scum right now, yet we all can’t wait to see how Tiger is going to climb his way back to the top of the pro golfing world.

The best thing about sports and cheaters is that as fans, we can pick and choose who we forgive in our hearts and who we don’t. I certainly would forgive Pete Rose’s gambling before forgiving McGwire’s juiced-up ball playing. Hell, I would probably even forgive Tiger and all his sins before McGwire simply because McGwire has constantly chosen to treat us like idiots to our faces.

But there is nothing worse than a professional athlete who accuses another player of cheating when it’s technically not true. Yes, Scott McCarron, I am talking about you.

With Tiger in sex rehab somewhere, the PGA Tour is rolling with everybody’s favorite lefty, Phil Mickelson, as the new number one player in the world. Everything was going smoothly at last week’s Farmers Insurance Open (a bit boring, actually, without Tiger) until McCarron decided to call Mickelson a cheater for playing with a 20-year-old square-grooved Ping Eye 2 wedge that had slipped through a loophole in U.S. Golf Association rules.

The gossip that McCarron had called Mickelson a cheater spread like wildfire across sports websites, at the dinner table, and through playgrounds. We all talked about it, yet nobody seemed to understand what advantage Mickelson (and others) might gain from playing with a square-grooved club. According to Reuters, only a month ago when the USGA implemented new rules barring the use of clubs with square or U-grooves. The Ping Eye 2, however, was deemed legal because of a lawsuit won by Ping over the USGA 10 years ago. Apparently the new rules were implemented after researchers found that modern configurations could allow players to generate almost as much spin with irons from the rough as from the fairway. (Sometimes you have to wonder if golfers have too much time on their hands.)

So McCarron is mad at Mickelson (and others) for using the loophole to bring the Ping Eye 2 golf club onto the course. “It’s cheating,” he said at first. Then on Tuesday, he issued an apology to Mickelson, putting an end to the debate over the Ping Eye 2.

“I would like to apologize to Phil Mickelson for the comments that I made,” McCarron told reporters on Tuesday. “We had a very nice conversation ... and we both realize that we are on the same page on this issue. We think it's an issue that clearly needs to be resolved.”

Frankly, I like people who can find loopholes in life. If someone can read the fine print and get a legal advantage, more power to them. That’s why McCarron looks like a whiney baby right now. Instead of taking advantage of the loophole himself, he decided to take some invisible road of high morality and point the finger at others. McCarron looks like a helpless baby here.

This is a perfect example of that old cliché, “Don’t hate the player, hate the game.” McCarron should ride the USGA for changing the rules rather than Phil for using the club. I mean, what’s next McCarron? You going to call Mickelson out for using tax loopholes as well? Loopholes and fine print are the American way. McCarron obviously doesn’t get that. (Or he does, but thinks he has higher morals to admit it.)

Perhaps McCarron should go out and purchase a new Ping Eye 2 golf club and maybe this weekend he’ll make the cut to the final round. Mickelson finished the Farmers Insurance Open 19th overall, while McCarron finished tied for 95th, in case you were keeping score.

I would say McCarron could use a word of advice next time he decides to call someone out for being a cheater when he really isn’t. It’s always better to call someone a cheater after you beat them, not after you lose to them. Otherwise, you just look like a whining loser.
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