Golfer David Robertson of Scotland has been banned until the year 2005 and fined 5,000 pounds ($7,000) for repeated cheating during qualifying for last month's British Open, the Professional Golfers Association European Tour announced.
Robertson, 28, a former British youth champion, moved his ball to a better lie at least five times -- by up to 10 feet -- according to one of his caddies, who left in disgust midway through the round.
Robertson was disqualified from the Open on the 14th hole of the last qualifying round at the Princes course in southeast England July 14. It was the fourth disqualification of his career.
Robertson denies the charges and has 28 days in which to appeal Thursday's ruling, which association officials said they believe to have been the most severe in the history of the game.
Ken Schofield, executive director of the European Tour, said the tour committee had taken testimony from four caddies as well as Briton Simon Middleham and Alvin Odom of the United States, Robertson's partners for the Open qualifying round. They reported him to officials.
Paul Connolly, 20, one of the caddies, handed Robertson's golf bag to a replacement after nine holes. "I walked off because I couldn't stand what I was seeing," he was quoted by the Daily Mail newspaper as saying.
"On the third, the ball was moved 10 feet nearer the hole. It was moved 10 feet again on the fourth. On the sixth and seventh, it was moved in the rough, and on the ninth he got a free drop into thick rough. He asked me to go forward and check the yardage, and when I got back, the ball was lying perfectly on a patch of grass."
In July 1970, Robertson was disqualified at the Scottish boys stroke-play championship at Montrose for a "wrongly marked card." He still was an amateur when he was disqualified in March 1974 from the East of Scotland Alliance championships at Gullane for "improperly marking a ball on the green."
Robertson turned pro in 1974. Three years later, he withdrew from the Portuguese Open after allegations from an American partner that he had dropped a second ball in the rough. In 1982, during a pro-am in Scotland, he was disqualified for dropping a ball incorrectly from ground under repair . . .
Emanuel Bradley of West Palm Beach, Fla., celebrated his 90th birthday by playing 90 holes of golf without use of a golf cart. He shot slightly over par for the five rounds over the par-57, 3,150-yard executive course at Holiday Country Club. It took him 10 hours.