Day Four of White Marlin Open Wraps up

Photo: WBOC


White Marlin Open

officials on Tuesday announced that all winners of the 2017 tournament will be paid. The announcement comes nearly two months after tournament officials had said that one of the winners of this year's event 

had failed a polygraph test

.  White Marlin Open officials provided WBOC with the following statement:  

The Tournament Directors of the White Marlin Open are determined to protect the integrity of the Tournament as the largest billfish tournament in the world. As has been the policy of the White Marlin Open since 2004, at the conclusion of the 2017 Tournament, the top money winners were polygraphed.

After an extensive process and after reviewing all the evidence, the Tournament Directors have confirmed the eligibility of all the winners previously announced, and, in accordance with the rules of the tournament, those winners will receive the prize money for their categories. 

The Tournament Directors made every possible effort to ensure complete fairness to all participants, including a post-tournament protocol to verify compliance with the rules. The White Marlin Open, like many other tournaments, has found that the use of polygraphs is an effective method of ensuring compliance with the rules, particularly with over 350 boats participating over tens of thousands of square miles.  The rules allow the Tournament Directors to require additional polygraphs for the angler and others on the winning boat, and provide the angler with a right to obtain a separate polygraph at his or her own expense. After all tests were complete, the Tournament Directors carefully reviewed the results, consulted with the polygraph examiners and a leading polygraph expert, and reached a decision about each winner. 

The White Marlin Open strives to obtain the highest integrity and fairness in all of its awards and determinations of adherence to the Rules & Regulations. The Tournament Directors are committed to taking as much time as is needed to reach the appropriate decision, including the involvement of a top expert whose schedule we needed to work around—leading to a longer timeline this year. It is for these reasons that the Tournament Directors have made the determination to award the prize money to the winners.

Last year’s winner of a $2.8 million white marlin, Phil Heasley, failed his polygraph test and was stripped of the prize money. According to tournament rules, prizewinners who receive $50,000 or more may be required to take a polygraph test.

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