Simon Dyson was last night found guilty of a serious rule breach and given a two-month ban by the European Tour, suspended for 18 months, following his disqualification at the BMW Masters.
He was also fined £30,000 and charged £7,500 legal costs, to be paid within 56 days.
A three-man disciplinary panel – chaired by Ian Mill QC and including former player Gordon Brand Jnr – upheld a charge of a serious breach of the Tour’s code of behaviour relating to the 35-year-old Yorkshireman’s disqualification for signing for an incorrect score at the BMW Masters in Shanghai on October 25. Dyson failed to add a two-shot penalty to his card after an incident on the eighth hole, when he touched the line of his putt after marking his ball.
The panel found that the act was a deliberate one, was committed in the knowledge of the rule forbidding such an act, and was done to improve his position on the green.
According to the panel, the “extreme seriousness” of such an offence “in the appropriate case” would warrant an immediate suspension, but Dyson’s previous good conduct and the fact that it was a “momentary aberration on his part, not a premeditated act of cheating”, was taken into consideration.
Dyson was therefore given the suspended ban, but any breach of the Rules of Golf in the 18-month period would see his case referred back to the panel to determine whether the suspension should immediately become effective.
In a statement, the European Tour announced: “The panel decided .... to 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.”
The fact that the Tour saw fit to suspend the sentence given his blemish-free record during his 14 years on Tour reflects well on Dyson. But going forward, his career will carry the mark of a guilty verdict in a sport that prides itself on players calling penalties against themselves.
It was unclear last night whether Malton’s Dyson – who has won six times on the European Tour – will appeal.