Golfer suing former partners 'not the sort of man to cheat'

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The Independent Online
AN AMATEUR golfer suing two former friends for damages after they accused him of cheating was a 'very competitive player' but 'not the sort of man to cheat', a court was told yesterday.

Philip Townsend, from Chesterfield, Derbyshire, told Nottingham County Court that John Buckingham, a retired businessman, had been his golf partner for 12 years. 'I have played with him in friendly matches, pro-ams and medal competitions.

'I trust him implicitly and have never had cause to criticise his behaviour on the golf course. He is not the sort of man to cheat.'

Mr Townsend said Mr Buckingham and one of the men who made the accusation of cheating, Reginald Dove, had played together in a local open competition in 1990 at the Sherwood Forest Club in Nottinghamshire where the alleged misconduct took place.

When asked about alleged cheating at the 12th hole during the round, Mr Townsend said: 'Mr Dove came to me and said that it wasn't the ball that John had been playing with previously.

'He told me, 'I think he's dropped a ball', but there was no way on earth he could have done that without us seeing it.'

Mr Townsend said: 'I asked him, 'Have you seen him drop a ball', and he said 'no' and nothing was said to John and the game carried on as normal. Then as we walked off the course Reg said, 'I'm sure he did drop a ball'. I saw nothing to suggest cheating during that round.'

Mr Buckingham is claiming damages from Mr Dove and Graham Rusk, who accused him of placing his ball in more favourable lies and dropping a ball down his trouser-leg. He started legal proceedings in June 1991 after Sherwood's committee cleared him of cheating during the Sherwood Open in August 1990.

The case continues on Monday.

(Photograph omitted)

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