“Yeah,” he says, sensing your mistrust, and feigning a mild indignation. “One off the tee, two in the woods, three out, four on, two putts: Six.”
You say nothing. Your expression is as steel but your mind reels with doubt and aggrievement. By now you’re certain the ball he has played wasn’t the one that sliced into the conifers.
“Yeah,” he adds, “I had a hell of a lie in the woods. Lucky to find my ball and even then could scarcely take a practice swing. Took three, in fact.”
His elaboration gives the lie to his accounting. What was suspicion is now certainty. But what can you say or do?
Over time, the experienced golfer will have developed, through practice at the mirror, a range of expressions capable of conveying varying mixtures of doubt and disapproval, from mildish skepticism to the unspoken outrage felt on coming home to find that the family has been put to the sword by Mongol hordes.
Without having been forced to say so in plain words, you want the cheater in your midst to head for the next tee thinking, “He knows. He knows!” I think you’ll find that his ensuing play will more than compensate for any advantage gained through earlier defalcations.
Appropriately enough, in Scotland, the land which gave us the immortal pastime, there is a verdict that is handed down in trials where the evidence falls just short.