It's all relative for Lance Armstrong. The disgraced cyclist, who admitted to doping throughout his seven, now-vacated Tour de France wins, claims he follows the letter of sporting law to the same extent as his peers. And maybe that speaks highly of golf?
In an essay for Golf Digest, Armstrong writes he is drawn to golf because of its honor code -- the opposite, he says, of what he found in cycling.
"Cycling, it was the Wild West. Nobody considered doping cheating," Armstrong wrote. "It was an arms race where absolutely anything went, and it was every man for himself. You might consider me the last guy to have anything to say about cheating, but golf is different. I love adhering to a code of honor that we in cycling didn't have. If I moved my ball in the rough and got caught, I wouldn't just regret it, I'd be heartbroken forever. When I think about reform in cycling, I think about golf."
It seems clear golf is an instrument in Armstrong's self-justifying talking point that everyone in cycling dopes. If everyone did it, why couldn't Armstrong, right? It was just a subterranean level playing field. That's a reprehensible rationalization.
On the other hand, golf's honor code, at least in competition, again proves a draw, even if for one of the most ethically challenged athletes in modern history.
Since admitting to doping to Oprah Winfrey in an interview televised in January 2013, Armstrong's played quite a bit of golf. In a mid-January interivew looking at the one year since that sit-down, he said his handicap was down to a 9 index, meaning he shoots right around 80 for an 18-hole round.