Golfer Brian Davis Penalty: Honor, Integrity, Character Still Alive in Sports

Kirk Mango@@kirkmangoAnalyst IApril 20, 2010

HILTON HEAD ISLAND, SC - APRIL 18:  Brian Davis of England plays a shot from the beach on the first playoff hole during the final round of the Verizon Heritage at the Harbour Town Golf Links on April 18, 2010 in Hilton Head lsland, South Carolina.  (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
Scott Halleran/Getty Images

Well what do you know? There just might be athletes out there who actually demonstrate, through their actions, that winning is nothing without the integrity to go with it; that they really do have the right stuff.

With all the media attention today on poor (and sometimes illegal) behavior amongst athletes at many levels of sports, (much of it I reflect on through this blog), it is nice to see a story like Brian Davis' unfold. With the Tiger Woods debacle bringing unnecessary negative publicity into golf, this golfer's story is one that deserves much of our attention.

Based on all the reports I found, it appears that Brian Davis nicked a loose twig during his backswing of a shot in the final round at the Verizon Heritage, in Hilton Head South Carolina. As crazy as that sounds, it is a violation to move any loose ground cover, "impediment," during a takeaway (start of the backswing) in golf.

Brian, upon noticing a slight movement during his takeaway, (something that could only be seen on slow motion replay), immediately reported this occurrence to the PGA Tournament Director. The Director confirmed Brian's fear, costing him a two-stroke penalty, and a chance to win his first ever PGA Tournament.

And not only did it cost him the tournament, it hit him right in his pocketbook, as the difference between first and second (where he ended up) was a mere, oh say, $411,000.00. Yep, you got that right, it cost him his very first PGA championship—and close to half-a-million dollars, all for the sake of doing the "right thing."

Of course the cynic would have you believe that he had to tell on himself because he would have been caught later, and lost everything, if he did not self-report. However, based on the way this particular scenario went down (such a slight movement of ground cover, his reaction by immediately bringing this to the attention of the tournament director, and the fact that it could only be seen through slow-motion replay—to my knowledge, no one else reported seeing it), it seems much less likely that that was the reason for his self-reporting.

Rather, based on the facts as reported, it holds much more logic that his honor, character, and integrity were of much higher standard than most; thus, not allowing him to accept anything less than truly "winning" the tournament.

Boy, is that a comforting thought, and something we certainly haven't seen coming from an athlete of this caliber for such a very long time (at least from what I can recall).

Here, take a look at the story from ESPN's point of view using the link below below.


Kudos to you, Brian, no matter what some might say, the intrinsic value you received for doing the right thing just because it was the right thing to do is something that you simply can't put a price tag on, its priceless.


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