Golf has long been known as a game of honor, and that reputation came to the forefront of the PGA Tour on Sunday.
At the Verizon Heritage, 72 holes was not enough to determine a champion, as Jim Furyk and Englishman Brian Davis met head-to-head in a sudden death playoff.
Davis lauched his approach shot into a waste hazard by the side of the green, where upon taking his swing, connected slightly with a twig in his back-swing. He called the rules official over immediately following his shot to discuss what occurred, and it was ruled to be a two-stroke penalty.
The move gave Furyk an easy victory, his second on the year. However in the loss, Dais gained the respect of golf fans and colleagues everywhere.
“It’s just awkward to see it happen at such a key moment in the golf tournament,” Furyk said after the round. “Awkward for him to lose that way, and a little awkward for me to win.”
“That will come back to him spades, tenfold,” remarked tournament director Slugger White referring to Davis’ self-imposed penalty.
Davis drained a 20-foot putt on the final hole of the afternoon to force a playoff, drawing even with Furyk.
The rule in question was 13.4, which states that moving a loose impediment while making a takeaway would result in penalty. What’s more is that even with video replay it was difficult to see if the violation occurred, but Davis knew.
“It was one of those things I thought I saw movement out of the corner of my eye. And I thought we’d check on TV, and indeed there was movement,” Davis remarked after the round.
Upon the penalty, Davis conceded the tournament to Furyk, for the veteran’s 15th in his career.
“I want to react to the crowd and kind of wave and let them know, that ‘Hey, I’m excited,’ ” Furyk said after the round. “But I don’t want it to take away from Brian.”
Davis tabbed his fourth career runner-up finish.
“To have the tournament come down that way is definitely not the way I wanted to win,” Furyk stated. “It’s obviously a tough loss for him and I respect and admire what he did.”
After almost holing out from the fairway to end the tournament in regulation, Davis’ ruling on himself goes against the curve of what other sports tend to advocate, with a winning at all cost mentality.
“He’s class, first class,” White remarked.
Entering this week, Furyk was installed as the betting favorite to win the Verizon Heritage on Online Sportsbooks, despite coming off of a week where he missed the cut at the Masters.