• PGA Tour China money leader benched for six months
• Punishment relates to two events since June this year
XIN JUN ZHANG | PGA TOUR CHINA
Golf has got a new cheating issue to contend with, after the leading money winner on the PGA Tour China circuit was suspended for six months for signing incorrect scorecards.
The punishment to professional golfer Xin Jun Zhang was handed down by the China Golf Association with four more events left on the 2014 tour schedule.
The top five order of merit leaders from the newly-formed circuit earn Web.com Tour cards as part of the China Golf/PGA Tour partnership announced 12 months ago.
In a statement, the PGA Tour China revealed that Zhang was originally disqualified for signing the wrong score when playing at the Lanhai Open in Shanghai in June, before receiving his second penalty for a similar incident at the Cadillac Championship in Beijing in September.
It is unclear whether or not Zhang's infringements will result in the change of any past tournament results.
“The ban, from September 15 to March 14, rules Zhang out of several year-end championships such as the WGC-HSBC Champions and PGA Tour China's Tour Championship,” said the PGA Tour China in a statement.
A win and three runner-up finishes on the tour have earned him the top spot in the order of merit with 650,600 yuan ($106,048), about 140,000 yuan clear of second-placed David McKenzie of Australia.
The PGA Tour, as is its policy, decline to comment on the suspension of the 27-year-old, who turned professional in 2010, or either of the reported incidents leading to it. At this point, it is unclear whether or not Zhang’s infringements will result in the change of any past tournament results.
The incident with Zhang is the second high-profile incident of ‘cheating’ that golf has had to contend with in the last 12 months.
Englishman Simon Dyson, above, was accused of deliberately breaking the rules at the 2013 BMW Masters in Shanghai, when he used his ball to flatten a spike mark on the line of his putt.
Initially, the Englishman was charged with a ‘serious breach’ of the European Tour’s code of behaviour and, at a subsequent hearing, he was cleared of ‘a premeditated act of cheating’, but was given a two-month ban from the tour, suspended for 18 months.
A 2011 survey of PGA Tour caddies by Golf Magazine, meanwhile, found that more than half of them claimed to have witnessed a player cheating during a tour event.
PGA Tour China incident :: an exception or not?
In the wake of the PGA Tour China banning its money-leader for alleged cheating over the weekend, we want to know if you have ever witnessed somebody cheating on the golf course. It's totally anonymous and you won't be asked to reveal details. Simply vote 'yes' or 'no' in our poll below.