"You might as well praise a man for not robbing a bank," said the great Bobby Jones, perhaps golf's greatest ever player, when fans and media congratulated him for calling a penalty on himself at the 1925 US Open.
That penalty was a victimless crime: Jones's ball moved, almost imperceptibly, just before he played a shot that year. Nobody else saw it, but he insisted on taking the penalty shot.
It ended up costing him the title - he ended up in a play-off instead of outright winner, and lost the shoot-out to Willie MacFarlane.
But while Jones was an amateur, playing only for glory in the traditional Corinthian spirit. But Cameron Tringale is a very different man.
Tringale, a journeyman pro on the US PGA Tour, phoned the US PGA almost a week after the final Major of the year had finished, and asked to be disqualified.
His reasoning? He thinks he whiffed his putter over the top of the ball before tapping it on the 11th hole of his final round. And if you swing at the ball but miss, it still counts as a stroke.
Nobody saw it. The man himself isn't even sure whether he did it or not. He's not even sure if it should have counted as a stroke or not, since it's a grey area as to whether or not he had actually addressed the ball to make his stroke (and if you've not addressed the ball to try and hit it, there is no penalty).
But it matters not to Tringale, who has obviously been having sleepless nights about the incident. It seems that, like the bank robber unable to rest for the thought of the used notes stuffed in his mattress, Tringale simply couldn't live with the thoughts nagging away in the back of his head. He phoned up the PGA of America, came clean about what happened and asked that the stroke be retrospectively counted - knowing full well that it would result in his disqualification for signing an incorrect scorecard.
"On Sunday, I signed for a bogey 4 on the par-3 11th hole," Tringale explained in a statement. “While approaching the hole to tap in my 3-inch bogey putt, the putter swung over the ball prior to tapping in.
"Realising that there could be the slightest doubt that the swing over the ball should have been recorded as a stroke, I spoke with the PGA of America and shared with them my conclusion that the stroke should have been recorded."
Tringale had come 33rd in the US PGA Championship, incidentally - so his honesty cost him a cool $53,000 - roughly £32,000.
He deserves a hearty pat on the back for his honesty. And no - we're not praising a man for not robbing a bank. We're praising him for the golfing equivalent of accidentally stealing one of those little plastic pens, returning it a few days later, and demanding that the bank confiscate his savings to make up for his victimless crime.
Having said all that, we're pretty sure Tringale will be all right: sitting just inside the top 50 of the FedEx Cup standings this year, he's pocketed a $1.7 million in prize money. Almost enough to open a bank of his own.
- Sports & Recreation
- Cameron Tringale
- Bobby Jones