National Columnist

David Eger was the right guy to rat out Tiger Woods

Anyone else, and I'd be irritated. Anyone but a professional golfer, I mean.

Had it been a fan who ratted out Tiger Woods at the Masters -- calling Augusta National, informing the powers-that-be that Woods had taken an improper drop on No. 15 -- I'd be embarrassed for the rat fink. What kind of fan does that? What kind of person cares that much about the rules of golf?

A professional golfer does.

I'm not saying I agree with what Champions Tour golfer David Eger did. I'm not sure one professional golfer should be ratting out another one -- not via telephone from his house, anyway. And not in these circumstances. Tiger Woods didn't improve his lie by kicking the ball out from under some trees. That would be cheating, but that wasn't this. There's cheating, and there's breaking a rule. Tiger Woods broke a rule.

But anyway, David Eger isn't just another TV viewer or a weekend golfer who happens to know way too much about the rule book. He's an actual professional golfer, and this sport isn't like other sports. It has a code, and it's the most strict code in sports. Golfers have disqualified themselves from tournaments for signing an incorrect scorecard, even when the mistake was unintentional -- and made by somebody else. This is a sport that values integrity above all else, and while there are times that credo seems to be taken too far by nosy zealots, I'm not sure this is one of those times.

Or that David Eger is one of those guys.

He's not a nosy zealot but a professional golfer. More than that, he's a former PGA and USGA staffer who was the USGA's senior director of rules and competition from 1992-95 -- and who the PGA Tour's vice president of competition from '95-96.

So he knows the rules, but more than that, he knows the code. He saw something, and he said something. Not sure I'd have done the same thing in his shoes, but I can't mock him for it. And I can't understand you mocking him for it, either.

You may well like golf, but David Eger lives it. There's a difference, and it's not a small one.





Gregg Doyel is a columnist for CBSSports.com. He covered the ACC for the Charlotte Observer, the Marlins for the Miami Herald, and Brooksville (Fla.) Hernando for the Tampa Tribune. He was 4-0 (3 KO's!) as an amateur boxer, and volunteers for the ALS Association. Follow Gregg Doyel on Twitter.
 
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