Most of my friends and virtually all of my current and former business associates play golf. Many organize their entire lives around the game - select their principal residence - take their vacations - consummate sales - select investments - trade information - launder money - arrange alibis/liaisons - with a course or courses serving as the focal point for all meaningful activity.

I have never played golf, but have listened to enough post match post mortems to transform From the Stool to From the Tee, From the Bunker, From the Rough.

The golf establishment has done an extraordinary job of creating an aura of nobility around the game - a purity - a majestic otherworldliness bordering on spirituality - totally at odds with reality. Golf like no other sport is rooted solidly in corruption.

Most golfers (I know of no exceptions) are lying, cheating, conniving, swindling, con artists - in large part due to the fact that golf is the only major sport where the player keeps his own score. Golfers compete, not against the course, but against a self-developed handicap which if set high enough guarantees large paydays. Betting is the cornerstone of the game.

The truly accomplished golfer suffers lapses in concentration when developing his handicap - good for 2 or 3 strokes a round - forgets to count a swing or two - improves the odd lie - perhaps a stroke a round - and is a master of subtlety - interfering with his opponent’s focus by asking questions, voicing opinions, dropping a bag, just at the point of contact.

If all of this technique fails to consistently relieve playing partners of their money - elaborate betting schemes - presses - counter presses - animals - are introduced during play with the accomplished golfer handling the scoring for the foursome. The variety of calculations is so complex that no one complains when the scorekeeper allocates the bulk of the winnings to himself.

Only the touring professional follows the holy rules of golf to the letter as they play without handicap and are scrutinized by an army of officials and television coverage with all scores posted throughout the round. While even on tour the pro is responsible for turning in his own score, there is no opportunity for deception.

For the club player, opportunities for enhancing one's score are boundless. Most of my friends profess scrupulous honesty, and cite examples of players being asked to leave their club for deviant behavior. Most clubs have two or three year waiting lists for new members, and boast multiple foursomes who have played together for decades.

If there is a bright spot - all who club the ball have the identical opportunities to forget, overlook, embellish, manipulate, miscalculate, reposition, exaggerate, intimidate, and attempt to outmaneuver their opponent. Remarkable in a game where most venues wouldn’t have let Tiger Woods tee it up 25 years ago.

I guess if everyone cheats, the results and disposition of funds, on a relative basis, is, in the final analysis, fair and proper.