12:32 PM CDT, April 26, 2010
Last weekend, Jim Furyk won the Verizon Heritage golf tournament on the PGA Tour.
Nothing shocking about that...Furyk is one of the best players in the world.
But the WAY he won is worth noting. He won because second place finisher Brian Davis called a penalty on himself.
On the first hole of a playoff. Because of an infraction nobody else noticed.
A self-called penalty that cost him the tournament and hundreds of thousands of dollars.
And what was that infraction?
Did he use perfomance-enhancing drugs?
Did he use illegal clubs or balls?
Did he get arrested after a fight with police?
Did he go into the stands after a fan?
He moved a twig.
A movement that had no impact on the shot he was trying to hit. But, a movement that violated the oh-so-technical rules of golf. And without referees or umpires or anyone else to blow the whistle, Davis blew the whistle on himself... gracefully accepted the two-stroke penalty and congratulated winner Furyk. Compare that with the headlines we've seen from other athletes. There was a time when Americans thought sport showed us in our best light. The dedication to a craft.
The determination to improve ourselves.Putting it all on the line for our team or our dream. Competing with class & dignity, within the rules.Sadly, those days seem a long time ago. Then along comes the PGA Tour, and a player like Brian Davis. The amazing thing is not just what he did, but the lack of surprise from other members of the tour.
The consensus was, of course he called the penalty on himself, anyh of us would in that situation.
The surprise comes from us who have become cynical from watching other sports. The PGA Tour tag line is, "THESE GUYS ARE GOOD."
Last weekend was a reminder that doesn't just refer to their skill.
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