More than half of PGA Tour caddies have witnessed a player cheating during a Tour event, according to a poll of 50 caddies that was published in the January issue of Golf Magazine.
The finding — 54 percent of the caddies said they had witnessed such behavior — conflicts with the game's long-standing image as a bastion of integrity.
"You see guys tamping down the rough behind their ball with a 3-wood and then hitting a 9-iron out," said one of the caddies, all of whom were granted anonymity so they could speak freely without fear of repercussion. "It's illegal, but it happens all the time."
Another caddie said that one player in particular has a reputation for marking his ball illegally.
"Everyone knows it," the caddie said. "The way he marks his ball, he'll turn a 23-inch putt into a 21-inch putt, which is huge psychologically."
A third respondent said that while he has never seen a Tour pro blatantly cheat, he has seen many players employ the rules unethically to gain an advantage.
"I have seen a lot of 'manipulation of the rules,' if you know what I mean — people wanting drops that aren't exactly ethical but that they've somehow justified in their minds," the caddie said.
The magazine surveyed the caddies on a range of topics, including their incomes, their education, their politics, and their controversial peer, Steve Williams.
Here are some of the results:
If you were in Joe LaCava's shoes, would you have left Dustin Johnson's bag to work for Tiger Woods?
No: 50 percent
Yes: 48 percent
Don't know: 2 percent
Have you ever made more than $100,000 in a year?
Yes: 78 percent
No: 22 percent
Are caddies generally underpaid, overpaid, or is your compensation about right for what you do?
About right: 44 percent
Underpaid: 26 percent
Depends on the player: 20 percent
Overpaid: 10 percent
On Dec. 9, the January issue of Golf Magazine will be on newsstands and available for tablet subscribers on iPad, Kindle Fire, Nook Tablet, Nook Color and Samsung Galaxy Tab. Learn more