The Value of Fair Play
Written by Dr Jim Tunney on February 25, 2019
On The TunneySide of Sports February 25, 2019 #732 Up Next… The Value of Fair Play
After further review… The United States Golf Association (USGA) has lightened up some of its rules that began January 1, 2019. Many purists have concerns, but the “duffers” – those who play a once-a-week game have breathed a breath of fresh air. One of golf’s main tenets is that you call your own fouls/violations – sorta like we did in our playground games.
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One day while golfing with colleagues I discovered yet another example of honesty being the best policy. I knew two of the men in our foursome and was just getting to know the fourth –-I’ll call him Ace. By the end of the third hole, I had learned his story, an object lesson for all.
Ace and his business partner had owned a property-and-casualty insurance agency. They had put in many years so that their agency grew into a respected mid-sized firm. It then attracted the attention of one of the big conglomerates. After some negotiations, Ace and his partner decided to sell to that conglomerate but agreed to stay on as consultants by doing some selling. The paperwork was completed in a flash and everyone was pleased.
After a couple of years, Ace and his partner felt they weren’t active enough and decided they wanted to go back to run a brisker business like they had before. The conglomerate said they couldn’t and claimed they agreed never again work outside the conglomerate. Ace said, “Show me where we agreed to any such thing.” The other side said it had been an oral agreement. Ace knew there had never been such a discussion, much less an agreement. A court case ensued.
In court, the judge agreed an oral contract is as good as a written one, if it could be established there was such. The judge’s issue was who to believe and he said in effect, “It’s basically a question of who do I believe, and I have to go with my gut. My gut tells me to trust experience.” The experience that’s relevant here is that a number of years ago Ace played in a golf state championship. On the 18th hole, he hooked his drive into the rough. He was up and out in one, made his putt and everyone thought he had won the tournament, except that Ace admitted he had grounded his club in the hazard and thus declared a two-shot penalty on himself.
No one had seen this violation. Ace could have slinked through and taken the win, but he didn’t. He told the truth when he didn’t have to. So, the judge said that he believed Ace was telling the truth now. Case closed. Honesty is one “rule” the USGA didn’t change.
Will you abide by the value of being honest in whatever you do?