Cheating Accusations Levied Against Eventual WLD Champ

While golf fans around the world are focusing on the European Tour’s final stretch run, those looking for a golf fix may have found their way to the World Long Drive Championship on Golf Channel on Tuesday and Wednesday this week.

The competition, which culminated on Wednesday evening with World No. 1 Kyle Berkshire defeating Tim Burke, had its fair share of controversy in the early rounds as the eventual champion had his integrity publicly questioned by the self-proclaimed Long Drive Sherrif on social media.

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Berkshire was using a towel during his Round of 16 match on Tuesday in an effort to keep his golf balls dry from the dew that can accumulate on the hitting deck, but photos shared on social media insinuated that Berkshire could be breaking a rule and using the towel as an alignment aid.

The account @LDSheriff posted a picture of the WLD handbook that states, “hitters must keep towels behind the hitting area.” 

He then posted two more pictures — since deleted, but captured by GolfMagic.com — that levied the accusations of the towel being used as an alignment aid. 

After bombing his eighth and final ball 426 yards to defeat Tommy Hug and reach Wednesday’s quarterfinals, Berkshire responded to the accusations. 

“I started using the towel early in qualifying as a mat to keep my golf balls from getting wet from the dew on the tee in the early rds and continued out of habit,” Berkshire wrote. “It never occurred to me that it might seem like an alignment aid. I won’t use the towel in that fashion tomorrow.

“The reason I was ‘positioning’ the towel was because Shane said the entire towel had to be behind the ball and I moved it until he was okay with where it was. My last intention is for people to think I’m intentionally using an unfair advantage against the spirit of competition.”

Golf.com reported that a spokesperson for the WLD Association confirmed Berkshire followed the correct protocol in communicating with the official on the hitting deck and moved his towel to an acceptable position before hitting his first ball.

The Long Drive Sheriff backed off the accusations following Berkshire’s response.

“Golf Channel gave Kyle permission to have a towel on the tee box as long as it was behind the tee pod and he has assured the Sheriff he in no way had any thoughts of using that as an alignment aid,” @LDSheriff posted. “End of story.”

As it ended up, Berkshire had the last laugh. Without a towel on the hitting deck on Wednesday night, Berkshire advanced through to the finals and defeated veteran Tim Burke to win his first World Long Drive Championship.

“This feels awesome,” Berkshire said. “It’s validated a lot of the hard work and sacrifice I’ve put in to [being] the best, and I am the best right now. I look forward to raising that bar.”

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