The European Tour has cleared Simon Dyson of cheating during the second round of the BMW Masters in October, following a decision by a three-person disciplinary panel.
Dyson, who tapped down a spike mark on the eighth green, has been fined £30,000 and handed a two-month suspension. However, the suspension has been suspended for 18 months – if during that time he commits no rules breaches, then the two-month suspension will be dropped.
In a statement, the European Tour said it will “impose upon Mr. Dyson a period of suspension from the Tour of two months, but to suspend its operation for a period of 18 months. The effect of this is that, if during that 18-month period, Mr. Dyson commits any breach of the Rules of Golf, his case will be referred back to the Panel to determine whether in the circumstances the suspension should immediately become effective. If, however, at the end of that period, he has committed no such breach, then the threat of a suspension will fall away.”
After a long hearing at the European Tour’s headquarters at Wentworth Golf Club, the panel, chaired by Ian Mill QC (Queen’s Council), found that “Mr. Dyson’s action in touching the line of his putt was a deliberate one; that act was committed by him in the knowledge of the Rule forbidding such an act; and his purpose in so acting was to improve his position on the green by pressing down a spike mark.”
However, the panel decided there were mitigating circumstances to reprieve the Englishman. In particular, it found “there is no history of misconduct on the part of Mr. Dyson during his 14 years on the Tour; the fact, as the Panel found, that Mr. Dyson’s conduct on the occasion in question involved a momentary aberration on his part, not a premeditated act of cheating; and the fact that his conduct and the Panel’s decision will have caused and will continue to cause detriment to Mr Dyson.”
Along with the £30,000 fine, Dyson has been ordered to pay another £7,500 towards the Tour’s costs of the disciplinary panel proceedings. Dyson must pay both sums within 56 days.
The European Tour statement concluded: “The Disciplinary Panel will in due course give detailed written reasons to the Tour and to Mr. Dyson. These detailed reasons will remain confidential to the parties.”
Dyson could not be reached for comment. Calls to Chubby Chandler, Dyson’s manager, went unanswered.