Bernard Madoff, sandbagger?

January 27, 2009

Not that he hasn't been called worse, of course. But this story in the Financial Times quotes an anonymous source questioning whether Bernard Madoff fudged on his handicap last year in a tournament of financiers in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. Madoff, of course, is the man charged with operating a massive Ponzi scheme.

The Financial Times source said that he recalls Madoff playing off a 14 or 15 handicap at the tournament, while the USGA's Golf Handicap and Information Network shows a 9.8 index. "He wasn't altogether straightforward," the source told the Financial Times.

It is true that GHIN shows Madoff with a 9.8 index at Atlantic Golf Club and Fresh Meadow Country Club, each of them on Long Island, but it also shows that he hasn't posted a score since May of 2000.

Let's give him the benefit of the doubt on the golf charge. It's a game of honor, remember. It calls to mind the professional golfer Richard Meissner, who admitted to robbing banks in the '70s. Meissner once had been accused of cheating at golf. "Here is the pertinent point," Tom Callahan wrote in Time Magazine. "When he later faced the bar of justice (for the bank robberies), Meissner readily admitted poking his pistol in the nose of all those tellers, but he bitterly denied ever cheating at golf."

-- John Strege