Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Ordinary Remarkable

The Masters completed, the PGA headed for Hilton Head for what is traditionally a sleepy and pretty tournament on the Carolina coast. The big names weren't there and guys whose names don't usually get top billing battled it out. Hockey and basketball playoffs take over page one and golf fans need to dig into the back of the sports section to find a story about it.

Except this year, the guy who came in second put the tournament front and center.

On the first hole of a sudden death playoff, Brian Davis called a penalty on himself and it cost him, in addition to 400k, the victory.

Fans of other sports may have difficulty understanding it. An outfielder catches a low liner after it skips off the ground, lifts his glove to show the ump he's made the grab, and, despite knowing full well he didn't catch it on the fly, will run off the field if the umpire signals out. He's not even accused of dishonesty, rather, he's praised for having "sold it well".

Professional sports are televised with such technically advanced coverage that a replay usually reveals such subterfuge in seconds. All an announcer will say in response is that the ref got it wrong. He won't impugn the player for lack of honor. Strangely, honesty isn't expected.

In golf, it is. This alone sets the game apart. People marvel at the oddity-- they certainly did in Brian Davis' case when hundreds of media outlets picked up the story, namely, Athlete Tells The Truth. Don't get me wrong, Mr. Davis deserves all the praise he's getting.

 People should realize, however, anyone who plays golf the right way would do the same thing.

Die Happy by Brock Walsh will, with a little luck, appear in bookstores soon.
Contact brockwalsh@gmail.com

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