saltman drops appeal


Elliot Saltman will not be appealing against a three-month ban from European Tour and Challenge Tour events.

The Scot was found guilty of a "serious breach" of regulations after claims he marked his ball incorrectly at the Russian Challenge Cup in September.

The 28-year-old was disqualified from the event and attended a disciplinary hearing in Abu Dhabi in January.

And though he will not appeal against the ban, Saltman maintains his belief that he did not break any rules.

"I wish to emphasise again that I do not cheat, have never cheated, and do not believe I have done anything wrong," he said.

"I want to get back to playing as quickly as I can, because playing is the best way to show people that I am not a cheat.

"It has been a terrible few months. I have worked all my life to be a professional golfer, and I love the game. To get my Tour Card and then have this happen is unimaginable.

"To have people who don't know me, and who know nothing about me, go out in the media and question my honesty is really hurtful. To be accused of being a cheat is a terrible stigma, and sadly is one that I will now almost certainly have to carry for the rest of my life.

"But I am a golfer, and I just want to get back out there and play. I know there is a lot of sympathy for me amongst the players as well, although I am sure that a few will give me a frosty reception. That will be difficult, but I will just have to live with it."

Saltman paid for a polygraph, or lie-detector, test in an attempt to prove his innocence and his representatives say the results "provided strong backing for his assertion" that he had not broken any rules.

His representatives also said: "Legal advisors have advised him of concerns over the likelihood of an appeal success given the current procedures followed by the European Tour that restrict their ability to proactively and fully put his case.

"An inability under European Tour rules to obtain full statements from the witnesses who claimed Elliot had incorrectly marked his ball in advance of the appeal, plus the possibility that the appeal might be heard by the same people who made the original decision, also persuaded Elliot and his lawyers that the likelihood of success was seriously hampered."

Saltman added: "Let me put the record straight. I love the game of golf, and I respect its traditions.

"I deeply regret any problems the publicity surrounding this matter has brought to the game of golf or to the European Tour.

"I don't cheat, and I don't knowingly break the rules. I hope that I can be allowed to put this deeply unhappy, and in my view unfair, episode behind me and get on with the rest of my career."