Exclusive London golf club in turmoil as members accuse their champ of cheating Top player at Wimbledon Park Golf Club accused of using foul language and cheating
00:21 GMT, 3 December 2012
Established under the reign of Queen Victoria, Wimbledon Park Golf Club has hosted some of the finest players the sport has ever created.
The late Seve Ballesteros and Colin Montgomerie are among many world-class champions invited to play on the meandering fairways in south-west London.
Former cabinet secretary Lord O’Donnell and popular TV hosts Ant and Dec – Anthony McPartlin and Declan Donnelly – are reportedly on the waiting list to join the prestigious club.
Clash on course: Members of Queen Victoria Wimbledon Park Golf Club want to oust a club champion whom they accuse of swearing and cheating
But now a bitter dispute over unsporting behaviour on the fairways and inappropriate language within earshot of the wood-panelled bar has begun to overshadow the usually tranquil atmosphere.
Some of the club’s 800 members, which include rich businessmen, senior policemen and television presenters, have threatened to leave unless a club champion is ‘thrown out on his ear’ for alleged cheating.
And the star player’s alleged use of bad language has been cited as evidence that the middle-aged player has no place at the exclusive club.
Disgruntled members have launched a campaign to oust the champion accusing him of being a foul-mouthed cheat.
Allegations against the star, who plays off a low handicap, stretch back several years, it is claimed in an anonymous email circulated around the club members.
Foul play: The champion golfer has been accused in an anonymous email sent to members(file photo)
His accuser says was ‘caught red handed’ cheating in an annual competition.
When he was suspended from the club the man is said to have involved the European Court of Human Rights to get his title restored.
However his detractors claim they have been forced to act following an alleged incident at the annual club knock-out competition this autumn, he is he alleged to have pocketed an opponent’s lost ball while pretending to look for it.
The email claims the player, who has won a number of club championships, has cheated before – kicking his own ball out of the rough, and ‘flipping his marker two feet nearer the hole’.
His dog has also been accused of sharp practice – allegedly stealing a lady member’s ball from a green.
The star player allegedly told the woman to ‘get a f****** life’ when she complained.
The email continued; ‘His loud swearing, particularly in the men’s changing room is also a problem’.
The star player is said to have ‘refused to go’ when he was challenged about the allegations.
Famous player: Scottish pro Colin Montgomerie is a fan of the prestigious Queen Victoria Wimbledon Park Golf Club
But to the growing annoyance of the email writer, it is he who has been asked to leave the club and not his nemesis – the alleged foul-mouth cheat.
The club captain Sandy Adamson has now written to members appealing for calm and criticising their ‘presumption of guilt’.
Mr Adamson wrote: ‘Various notices on the board of the clubhouse have also been defaced with the word “cheat”.
‘Such behaviour is shocking and I would ask members to remind themselves of the proper ethical and legal traditions that underlie the culture of our club and the legal system of our country.’ However critics of the star player have refused to be cowed.
One reportedly said: ‘This isn’t about
one member disagreeing with another. There’s a lot of us who have
complained about cheating.
‘One member has already threatened to resign and I think many will go if he is allowed to stay on this time.
behaviour is not just damaging the club’s reputation but golf as a
whole.’ The star player declined to offer comment when approached by the
Daily Mail today.
Un-fairway: The unidentified man's accusers say he has cheated during club tournaments and demand that he is thrown out (file photo)
Speaking on the drive of his 1 million home in south London said: ‘Thank you, but no comment.’ Asked to give his version of events, he replied; ‘No comment.’
However last night two club members who have played with the champion described him as a ‘decent bloke’.
Angus Skinner, 78, a retired lecturer at Imperial College and former golf club board member, told the Daily Mail: ‘I have played him a number of times and I have always found him to be a total gentleman, a really decent bloke.
‘He is a very good sportsman, one of the club’s best players.’ Mr Skinner added: ‘This whole business really should have been sorted out before it got this far.’
His son John Skinner, who is also a member of Wimbledon Park Golf Club, said: ‘He has always been very pleasant.’ Last night no one from the board of Wimbledon Park Golf Club replied to messages left by the Daily Mail.
But the club is reported to have said: ‘The matter is subject of an inquiry and we have no comment to make at present.’
Set in grounds next to the All England Lawn Tennis Club and Created in 1898 Wimbledon Park Golf Course claims its course, designed by Capability Brown, is one of the best in the UK.