By: Rob Harris
A fundamental tenet, understood but too often ignored by golfers, is to not make matters worse. Bite the bullet, get out of trouble, don’t go for the miracle shot.
Perhaps Australian doctor Bing Michael Oei should have followed that strategy after he found himself expelled from the Australian Golf Club for cheating. As reported:
“In March this year, the Australian Golf Club board found Dr Oei’s cheating to be ‘unbecoming conduct’ and expelled him after a disciplinary hearing,
“This came after club members reported seeing Dr Oei handling his ball to improve his position, out of sight from his playing partners.
“It was alleged that, in July last year, he picked up his golf ball and threw it underarm three metres in an attempt to improve his position.
“Dr Oei denied that he had done anything in a dishonest fashion…
“In November, it was alleged he moved his ball one metre alongside the fairway bunker.”
Instead of taking his medicine and moving on, Dr. Oei “claimed there would be ‘serious consequences’ if he lost his Australian Golf Club membership, including ‘loss of enjoyment of club amenities’ and ‘damage to his reputation.’”
“If the club did not give his membership back, he wanted compensation for his loss.”
The club said no, and Dr. Oei carried through on his threat and sued the club. To no avail. Now, Dr. Oei not only has the stigma of expulsion, but the publicity of an adverse court decision that recently issued, and has been widely reported, including the following:
“On Thursday, Justice John Sackar found there was no ‘legitimate basis’for the courts to interfere with the club’s decision to expel Dr Oei. As Judge Sackar further held, “But when pressed further as to what his attitude to the charges was, [Dr. Oei"s] response was that he may have erred in throwing the ball rather than dropping it.”
“The board was entitled to reject the Plaintiff’s account and find reasonably that he deliberately flouted the rules again to place himself in a more advantageous position,” Justice Sackar said.
Dr Oei also tried to argue that his actions did not fall within the definitions of “unbecoming conduct” but Justice Sackar disagreed.
“It seems to me that a deliberate flouting of the rules would reasonably be in context regarded as conduct unbecoming.”