In April 2010, British golfer Brian Davis was on his way to winning his first PGA tour victory at the Verizon Heritage tournament. As regulation play ended, Davis was tied with American golfer Jim Furyk. On the first playoff hole, Davis's approach shot landed off the green and nestled into a patch of weeds. While wedging the ball onto the green, Davis thought he heard a faint tick in his backswing, as if the club had grazed a stalk of grass. PGA rules impose a two-stroke penalty if your club moves any impediment (even a blade of grass) during the backswing.
Davis asked the PGA officials to check the TV replay and see if any grass was disturbed by his backswing. The officials looked, and they saw a reed of grass move ever so slightly.
Brian Davis's honesty cost him the win—and an additional $411,000 in prize money. But his actions won him countless admirers as that crucial moment was replayed again and again on sports channels and news shows around the world. He showed that the way you live and guard your influence is even more important than winning.
Source: Associated Press, in "Davis Concedes Playoff to Champ Furyk," April 19, 2010, on the ESPN Golf site.
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