Integrity is paramount in golf, and in journalism. To view a brief video clip and to wonder whether a player committed a violation -- asking in a GolfDigest.com headline, "Did Sergio Garcia cheat? Video shows he may have tapped down spike mark in his line"-- did not follow the protocols readers expect from us, and what we expect from ourselves. To be clear, Sergio did not cheat. As European Tour rules chief John Paramor says, Sergio was entirely within his rights to tap down a ball mark -- it wasn't a spike mark -- during a tournament in Abu Dhabi.
The bottom line is, this is an example of modern media at its weakest: Jumping to conclusions based on skimpy evidence. Repeating accusations from unconfirmed sources. Calling a man's reputation into question with one of the worst words that can be applied to a golfer -- even if a question mark is used after it. What Golf Digest stands for is credibility, and in this case we did not live up to that standard. We apologize to Sergio Garcia and to our readers.