Flipping through the cable channels Sunday afternoon, I caught the last moments of the playoff between PGA pros Jim Furyk and Brian Davis at the Verizon Heritage tournament in Hilton Head, SC (See it on YouTube at http://tinyurl.com/y5zwkns). Davis apparently hit an approach shot that ended up in a marshy hazard surrounded by boulders just below the green. I said to my wife, "You gotta watch this." It was an impossible shot. He'd have to chop through the weeds into damp sand, loft the ball up and over the boulders and land it onto the green. Most of us would've missed the ball entirely or ricocheted it off the rocks. Not Davis. After much careful planning, he hit the shot, gently deposited it onto the green, and remained in contention. Then the strangest thing happened. He called a course official over and confessed to the possibility that, during his backswing, his club might've grazed a reed. If so, that's against the Rules of Golf, and it would merit a penalty, costing him the tournament. Yet he still reported himself. Within one second of making the shot. The infraction was real, but only viewable by TV slow-motion replay. It would've been so, so very easy for Davis not to have said anything. The shot was tough enough, after all. But he did report it, and in doing so, Davis showed us something well beyond the game of golf. Englishman Brian Davis gave golf something to celebrate in its post-scandal Tiger Woods funk. In that split-second decision, Davis got second place place and lost $409,000. Just in that infinitesimal grazing of a reed. But in that moment Davis gained so much more than money. To onlookers everywhere, he showed the enduring worth of honesty. It was an amazing, redemptive moment in sports. It was quiet, but its message was clear: In a world so often motivated by winning and winnings, Davis showed us something money can't buy. Integrity.
The challenge for the rest of us? If we were in Davis's golf shoes, what would we have done?!