When discussing pro golf, we tend to limit our focus to the greatness of Jordan Spieth or the surprising amount of money made by caddies. But these are merely things that take place on the course. It might surprise you to learn that, despite golf priding itself on class and etiquette, the sport is far from squeaky clean. As we’ve seen in the past, the worst pro golf scandals can come out of nowhere.
Despite making $931,000 on a stock he purchased thanks to an insider trading tip from sports gambler Billy Walters, Phil Mickelson will not face criminal charges. Instead, he had to pay back “all ill-gotten gains” ($1.03 million after interest). Such is the penalty for someone who is charged as a “relief defendant.” While Mickelson has since taken responsibility for his actions in this situation, the way we see it, he’s getting off lucky.
Many individuals in the golf community have faced difficult times thanks to scandalous behavior. In our opinion, these seven instances are the worst golf scandals in history.
1. Jane Blalock scandal
Back in the ’70s, Jane Blalock was an absolute force in women’s pro golf. By the time she retired, Blalock had won 27 titles on the tour, was a Rookie of the Year, and once managed to make 299 cuts in a row. We should associate these sort of career accomplishments with her name — except that’s not the case. People connect Blalock’s name to something much worse: cheating.
Blalock faced accusations of improperly marking her balls on the green, improving her lies, and ultimately receiving a suspension for her actions. The latter resulted in an ugly lawsuit, which ended with a “ruling that the LPGA was in violation of antitrust.” Talk about drama.