Thursday, April 22, 2010

Losing and Winning At The Same Time

“Integrity is telling myself the truth. And honesty is telling the truth to other people."
-Spencer Johnson

I want to talk about a professional golfer for a minute. No, not that golfer. I'm talking about a lesser known guy by the name of Brian Davis. Davis has been in the trenches of the professional golf world without winning a major PGA tour event and I wouldn't be surprised if you had never heard of him.

Luck was with Davis on April 18th when for the first time he was within spitting distance of winning his first ever PGA tour event. Up against Jim Furyk, they were both down to the wire on the final hole. Davis's approach shot on the first hole of the playoff bounced off the green and fell into some weeds. When he tried to punch the ball up onto the green, his club may have grazed a stray weed on his backswing.

Unfortunately hitting any material around your ball during your backswing constitutes a violation of the rule against moving loose impediments, and is an immediate two-stroke penalty. And in a playoff situation, that means, in effect, game over.

Amazingly no one saw what happened except one man: Davis. And so he actually called the violation on himself. "It was one of those things - I thought I saw movement out of the corner of my eye," Davis said. "And I thought we’d check on TV, and indeed there was movement." Immediately after the shot, Davis called over a rules official, who checked the video replays and confirmed the movement -- but movement which was only visible in slow-motion.

This guy is my hero.

As soon as the replays confirmed the violation, Davis conceded the victory to Jim Furyk, who was somewhat stunned -- but, make no mistake, grateful for the win. "To have the tournament come down that way is definitely not the way I wanted to win," Furyk said. "It’s obviously a tough loss for him and I respect and admire what he did." Indeed, Davis said afterwards that he was sure of the violation and wouldn't have been able to live with himself if it wasn't.

Such integrity. In an age where people are almost expected to cheat, it is a breath of fresh air. For six years the Englishman turned Florida resident has been trying to win one on this side of the pond. He could have pretended he never saw the club graze the reed, and taken the chance no one else saw it either. But he didn't. The truth was more important then then the fame and money. I think we can all learn from this inspiring act of . . . honesty. Well done Brian Davis, my hat is off to you.

1 comment:

Moxymama said...

Wow. You are right in that I have never heard of him. You are also right in that his actions were incredibly admirable!