Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Why Golf Is Special

(Photo: Scott Hallern/Getty Images)

Would Lebron James or Kobe Bryant call a foul on themselves after they hit the game winning shot? Would Peyton Manning or Drew Brees throw a flag on themselves during the Superbowl? I don’t think that would ever happen. But this weekend at the Verizon Heritage PGA Tour Event Tour Player Brian Davis called a penalty on himself on the first playoff hole against Jim Furyk. Davis hit his approach shot into a waste bunker adjacent to the 18th hole and when he played his third shot out of the hazard his club brushed a twig thereby violating rule13.4 against moving a loose impediment during a takeaway.

What makes this so unbelievable is that no one saw the infraction. It wasn’t until Davis notified a rules official that he might have violated the rules of golf did anyone become aware of the breech.Davis was the only one who saw the twig move. It wasn’t until after the CBS slow motion cameras focused on his club that the world saw the tiny twig move during his back swing. He could have easily gotten away with it. But in his own words Davis said “I couldn’t have lived with myself, knowing I had violated the rules”.

What an amazing act of honor and integrity. The two-stroke penalty Davis incurred cost him not only a chance to win his first PGA Tour tournament, but over $700,000 in prize money. I am not sure how many athletes would have done the same thing Brian Davis did at the Verizon Heritage. But that’s what makes the game of golf special. Its gentlemen’s game and honor and integrity are an integral to the sport. Brian Davis is a shining example of how you’re supposed to play the game. When you cheat in golf you only cheat yourself. Kudos to Brian Davis a true gentleman and a champion in my eyes.

Edward S. Wanambwa

Senior Editor, African American Golfers Digest

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