'Biggest Mistake Of My Life' - Pro Admits To Cheating In PGA Tour Canada Event

Justin Doeden has confessed to the incident at the Commissionaires Ottawa Open on the PGA Tour Canada

Justin Doeden during the 2021 Korn Ferry Tour Qualifying Tournament Final Stage at Landings Club-Marshwood Course
Justin Doeden has confessed to cheating in a PGA Tour Canada tournament
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Pro Justin Doeden has confessed to cheating during the PGA Tour Canada’s Commissionaires Ottawa Open earlier in the month.

The 28-year-old wrote on Twitter: “I am here to confess of the biggest mistake I have made in my life to date. I cheated in golf. This is not who I am. I let my sponsors down. I let my competitors down. I let my family down. I let myself down. I pray for your forgiveness. John 1:9.” 

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Doeden had been playing in the event at Eagle Creek Golf Club in Ontario, but according to a report from Ryan French of Monday Q Info, there was controversy following the 18th hole of Doeden’s second round.

On the par 5, Doeden hit his second shot into the water. After taking a penalty stroke, he landed in a bunker before eventually finishing with a double bogey seven to leave him one-under and likely to miss the cut in the event.

However, his playing partners during the round later saw that Doeden was on the leaderboard at three-under, and raised their concerns with officials. 

The player who had kept Doeden's score reportedly signed his card before Doeden asked to see it again. When the officials looked at the card, they noticed the 7 he had made on the 18 had been erased, with a 5 in its place to leave him with a score that would have seen him make the cut. 

That prompted an investigation and, while it was taking place, Doeden reportedly contacted rules officials and withdrew from the tournament.

In his report, French points out the implications of Doeden making the cut, which would have affected 13 other players. That’s because the top 60 and ties made the cut in the tournament. Had Doeden’s three-under stood, it would have left 13 players tied for 61st, meaning they would have missed the cut.

A player who would have missed the cut had Doeden's score stood told French: "He could have affected my career."

Following Doeden’s confession, Monday Q Info wrote on Twitter: “Awesome of Justin to just tell it like it is and apologize.”

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In a follow-up tweet, the account wrote: “I talked to a lot of players about each of these cases. Most of the time players aren’t surprised, but in Justin’s case a lot of players were really shocked. This is not to defend him in any way he could have possibly ended another players career. There should be a punishment (and I’m sure there has been). But he owned up to it. Maybe because he got caught but maybe not. Hope he learned his lesson. “

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Doeden has been a regular on the PGA Tour Canada in recent years having turned pro in 2018. He has also played one event on the PGA Tour, the 2020 Puerto Rico Open, where he missed the cut. Doeden’s career earnings currently stand at $88,504.

Mike Hall

Mike has over 25 years of experience in journalism, including writing on a range of sports throughout that time, such as golf, football and cricket. Now a freelance staff writer for Golf Monthly, he is dedicated to covering the game's most newsworthy stories. 

He has written hundreds of articles on the game, from features offering insights into how members of the public can play some of the world's most revered courses, to breaking news stories affecting everything from the PGA Tour and LIV Golf to developmental Tours and the amateur game. 

Mike grew up in East Yorkshire and began his career in journalism in 1997. He then moved to London in 2003 as his career flourished, and nowadays resides in New Brunswick, Canada, where he and his wife raise their young family less than a mile from his local course. 

Kevin Cook’s acclaimed 2007 biography, Tommy’s Honour, about golf’s founding father and son, remains one of his all-time favourite sports books.