by Jeff Skinner
Once again we see something happen in golf that happens nowhere else in sports. We have heard it before: where else does a player call a penalty on himself? There is no sport that is self-officiated like golf is.
Unfortunately, Brian Davis had to call a penalty on himself during the playoff in The Verizon Heritage and in doing so it cost him any chance at the victory. This is one of the aspects of golf that separates it from all the others. Honesty and integrity are part of the fiber of the game. Brian Davis may have missed out on the first place trophy but he has won much respect from his fellow players and fans. Jim Furyk discussed the call after his win:
To have the tournament come down that way is definitely not the way I want to win the golf tournament. It’s obviously a tough loss for him, and I respect and admire what he did. To be there and be in the battle and have an opportunity to win the golf tournament, and then have to call a penalty on yourself has got to be extremely disappointing. I admire him for what he did. It’s a testament to our game and the people that play on the Tour, and that we have so many guys that do that. It’s just awkward to see it happen at such a key moment in the golf tournament. Awkward for him to lose that way, and a little awkward for me to win. Obviously I’m very happy to win but you almost don’t know how to react. I want to react to the crowd and kind of wave and let them know, that, hey, I’m excited, but I don’t want it to take away from Brian. It was an awkward moment, an awkward way to win.
Did Jerry Rice ever tell a referee that he really didn’t catch that ball? Did Michael Jordan ever let the refs know that that call wasn’t really a foul? Heck, even Derek Jeter cheats a little on the relay to first on a double play ball. Ever hear of the “in the neighborhood rule?” Trying to get a little extra advantage is part of the game in other sports. The spitball, stealing signs, stickum, holding and taking a dive or two are almost expected in all the other sports. Not in golf. You play it as it lies and follow the rules. A cheater is the most loathed person in golf.
This isn’t the first time Davis has made a call on himself that had consequences. He is the same player that penalized himself in Q-School and ended up not making The PGA Tour by one shot. Needless to say Davis’s reputation is not one of a cheater. You have got to love this game.