IN THE DISCIPLINARY ENQUIRY HELD AT THE
GOLF CLUB KIMBERLEY
In the matter between:
GOLF CLUB KIMBERLEY
DARIUS MENTOR THE PLAYER
1. The above Disciplinary Enquiry was held on 5 December 2014 at the Kimberley Golf Club (herein after the Club).
2. The Club was represented by Mr. O. Cronje, whilst Mr Mentor represented himself.
3. The allegations levelled against Mr Mentor are fully set out in the Notice of the Disciplinary Hearing, but can be summarised as follows:
3.1 That Mr Mentor, after completion of his round during the Barney Barnato Tournament (herein after the Tournament) and specifically on 29 October 2014, re-wrote his score card or allowed it to be re-written and thereafter signed same as being correct;
3.2 That Mr Mentor submitted this score card to the Committee, which bore a marker’s signature other than that of his marker namely Giep Joubert;
3.3 That Mr Mentor failed to ensure that his score card was scored from the first hole played; and
3.4 That the score card submitted by Mr Mentor reflected an incorrect score of gross 76 and 46 individual Stableford points.
4. Mr Mentor pleaded guilty on all four allegations and was subsequently found guilty on the allegations set out in paragraphs 3.1, 3.2 and 3.4 supra, whilst the Club abandoned the allegation set out in paragraph 3.3 herein above.
5. It should be mentioned that Mr Mentor confirmed receiving the Notice of the Enquiry and also that he took cognizance of his rights during the enquiry.
6. Both parties were afforded the opportunity to address the Chairperson before a recommendation regarding a proper sanction be made.
7. The respective parties’ submissions may be summarised as is set out herein under.
MR. D. MENTOR:
8. He is 48 years of age, has been playing golf for approximately one year and has a handicap of 12.
9. He admitted that he did wrong, but submitted that he was never properly introduced to the golf course itself or to the proper way of scoring.
10. He submitted that he was given a form to sign by the Club, but that he never read same and therefore did not know that he would pick up problems with what he did.
11. He furthermore submitted that he re-wrote his card because his marker for the round did not properly mark his score and he therefore re-wrote the card due to the fact that he thought that there might be problems with the initial entries on the card.
12. Mr Mentor furthermore stated that his conduct is not the exception to the rule in the Club, since he has seen other players do the same.
13. Mr Mentor then requested that a suspended sanction be imposed on him, because he did not act intentionally.
14. Mr Cronje on behalf of the Club called a witness to testify in aggravation and mitigation and then also argued in aggravation and mitigation.
15. The witness on behalf of the Club was the Club Manager Mr David Charles Walter Wilson, and his testimony may be summarised as follows:
15.1 Mr Mentor did confirm the score of gross 76 and 46 Stableford points after the round and did not plead that he had a problem with his marker during the round.
15.2 Mr Mentor did submit a letter to Mr Venter, the Director of Golf at the Club, which letter was acknowledged by Mr Mentor and was handed up as Exhibit “A”.
15.3 In the mentioned letter, Mr Mentor effectively admitted his wrongdoing and specifically that he altered his initial score card and that the scores which was entered on his “new” score card, reflected incorrect scores and points.
15.4 Mr Wilson furthermore stated that Mr Mentor did not receive any prize during the prize-giving later that particular evening, due to the fact that he (Mr Mentor) was disqualified because of his conduct.
15.5 Mr Wilson however stated that the allegations levelled against Mr Mentor were of a very serious nature, since same breaches the integrity of the Club, the Tournament as well as golf in general.
15.6 Mr Wilson alluded to the fact that conduct, such as the conduct displayed by Mr Mentor, has potential disastrous consequences for the Club, specifically financially in nature, due to the fact that the Tournament is the largest of its kind in
and is a good source of income to
the Club. Kimberley
15.7 Mr Wilson stated that the Committee takes a very dim view on conduct such as this and has in the past, instituted severe penalties for similar offences.
16. Mr Cronje argued along the same lines as the above and emphasised the seriousness of Mr Mentor’s conduct as well as the following:
16.1 That exceptional scores such as the score entered by Mr Mentor, will win tournaments and also prizes;
16.2 That Mr Mentor’s conduct boils down to fraud and forgery;
16.3 That golf is played on a competing basis and that integrity is therefore of the utmost importance; and
16.4 That, although it appears as if Mr Mentor loves the sport, Mr Mentor also needs to show integrity.
17. Mr Cronje then argued that a severe sanction should be imposed on Mr Mentor to also show other Club members that conduct such as this, will not be tolerated.
18. Mr Cronje asked for:
18.1 A life long ban of Mr Mentor from the Tournament;
18.2 A 2-year suspension of Mr Mentor’s membership with the Club; and
18.3 A suspension of Mr Mentor from competitions at the Club once he has served the suspension of his Club membership.
REASONS FOR THE PROPOSED SANCTION:
19. Although this Disciplinary Enquiry is by no means a criminal trial, I deemed it necessary to consider my recommendation as to a proper sanction, based on the same principles applied by criminal courts when considering sentence in a criminal trial, namely:
19.1 The seriousness of the offence/conduct;
19.2 The personal circumstances of the offender; and
19.3 The interests of society (in this instance the Club and its other members).
20. I have to agree that the conduct displayed by Mr Mentor is of a very serious nature, not only because it is fraudulent in nature but also and perhaps specifically, because of the fact that it makes a complete mockery of the integrity of the game of golf as well as the integrity expected of players of the game.
21. It is indeed so that the Tournament is perhaps the biggest drawing card in the golfing fraternity in the
and if players in the Tournament get only an impression that cheating (and I
use this only for lack of a better word) is tolerated, entries will dwindle and
the consequences may be disastrous. Northern Cape
22. I took into consideration Mr Mentor’s contention that he was never properly introduced to the course or the rules of golf and that he never read the document handed to him by the Club which he had to sign and apparently did sign.
23. I also took cognizance of Mr Mentor’s contention that he saw other Club members do the same and that he never knew that he may not do what he did.
24. I find Mr Mentor’s arguments unconvincing to say the least, because it appears that he attempts to shift the blame for his conduct on others and, despite admitting his wrongdoing, still does not really accept full responsibility for what he did.
25. I took into consideration the fact that a problem did exist with Mr Mentor’s marker on the day, which was admitted to by the Club, but I am still of the opinion that the ultimate responsibility to submit correct scores, rests with the player and not the people around him.
26. I furthermore did take into consideration the fact that Mr Mentor pleaded guilty to the allegations and that he, to some extent, took responsibility for his actions and also that he appeared to be genuinely remorseful about his actions.
27. Mr Mentor furthermore undertook to refrain from similar conduct in future.
28. I also took into consideration the fact that Mr Mentor ultimately did not benefit from his actions and that he was suspended from the Tournament, which in itself should have been rather embarrassing.
29. The question however remains as to what Mr Mentor would have benefitted, had he not been caught out, but since no evidence to this effect was tendered, the question remains rhetorical.
30. With regards to the interests of the Club and its members, it should be remembered that I am to protect their interests and not their opinion.
31. It has been stated already that the Tournament is a huge financial injection for the Club, but the Tournament also serves to promote the Club and
in general. Kimberley
32. Any toleration of conduct such as Mr Mentor’s conduct can therefore only tarnish the reputation of the Club and the Tournament.
33. I still find it inconceivable why players can not make peace with their limitations as golfers and simply enjoy the privilege of playing in a Tournament such as the Barney Barnato.
34. The game of golf and specifically the scoring system during tournaments and competitions have been designed to also make lesser players competitors for prizes without such lesser player having to revert to underhand methods to compete (I am referring to the handicap system).
35. The above being said, I share Mr Cronje’s view that a suspended sanction in this instance will not suffice, but I not share his views that the sanction should be imposed to satisfy the opinion of the members of the Club, although it should be sufficient to deter other members from doing the same.
36. In view of the above, I recommend that the following sanction be imposed on Mr Mentor:
36.1 That Mr Mentor be banned from playing in the Barney Barnato Tournament for the next 20 years;
36.2 That Mr Mentor’s membership of the Kimberley Golf Club be suspended for a period of 18 months;
36.3 That after the expiry of the above period of 18 months and upon Mr Mentor’s return to the Club as a member, Mr Mentor be banned from playing in any tournaments or competitions held by the Club, for a period of 12 months.
ON THIS THE 8TH
DAY OF DECEMBER 2014. KIMBERLEY