Experts believe that Brian Davis paid well over 1 million dollars for his recent behavior on the golf course.  Many of you are probably thinking that Brian Davis did something bad, right?  The media is constantly inundating us with all the bad things that sports figures and celebrities do that this question automatically makes us think negatively.  But not in this case.

Here’s the deal:  Brian Davis is a 36 year old British Generation Xer who recently played in the PGA Tour at the Verizon Heritage at Hilton Head, S.C. Now I know what you’re all thinking:  I keep saying I don’t like sports but I keep bringing up examples of things that happen in the sports world.  Am I secretly a sports fan?  Truly, I am not but it just happens that really cool things are happening with sports figures that I think are worth highlighting. 

So Brian Davis is hitting onto the green in a sudden-death playoff  and apparently his golf club hits a reed when he does his backswing.  Well, as I’m sure all golfers know and I did not, a reed is considered a loose impediment and moving a loose impediment is apparently a big NO-NO in golf.   It came as a shock to me that there actually is a PGA rule that prohibits moving a loose impediment!  So instead of keeping quiet and seeing if the tournament director catches the mistake, Brian calls a penalty on himself.  Yes, he actually highlighted the mistake and requested that the two stroke penalty be applied to his game.  This decision automatically put him in second place giving the win to his opponent, Jim Furyk.

Is that not an unbelievable and refreshing story?  I was reading about this in my hard copy version of September’s edition of Success Magazine.  As I am writing this post, the online version of the September issue is not yet available but here’s the link to Success Magazine.  I’m sure the September issue will go online shortly and you can read it.  The name of the article is “The Most Important Golf Story of the Year (That you Likely Never Heard About).  The reporter’s name is Don Yaeger.

The article goes on to explain that interviewers and golf experts told Brian Davis that his act of integrity cost him over $1 million dollars in pay and sponsorship opportunities. Brian’s answer: “I just saw it as doing what I was supposed to do”

Here are the 2 things I love most about this story.  The first is that Brian was inundated with emails, texts and letters that thanked him for this wonderful act of integrity.  Imagine how many people became his fans and admirers by his decision to lose instead of compromising his principles.  I don’t even know who he is and I’m a big fan now!  The second thing I like is more related to leadership. It has to do with the notion of leading by example which I think is a forgotten leadership trait these days.   In the article, Brian talks about how he promised his son that he would buy a puppy as soon as he won a tournament.  So technically, even though he won the tournament, he didn’t officially win it.  Brian felt it was more important for his son to know that You have to do the right thing, even it if looks like it costs you.  I wanted him to know I finished second, but can hold my head high”.   What a great example of doing what is right regardless of consequences.

Oh and by the way,  Brian did not get the puppy because as he said in the article ” I wouldn’t be a good dad if I just got the dog anyway”.  Here is a Generation Xer not just telling us but actually showing us how to do the right thing.  I can already hear people disagreeing with me saying that Brian’s actions are more representative of his personal convictions than of his generation. You can certainly look at it that way and you would be right.  But, when highlighting people in my blogs, I always try to connect the person with his or her generation. This helps maximize and showcase the positive traits of the person’s generation wherever possible.  Too often, generational discussions center around negative impressions when  it’s more productive and useful to bring out the positive.   As a member of Gen X,  the generation that is often forgotten and overshadowed by Baby Boomers and Millennials, Brian shows the rest of us what it’s like to be a true leader living and leading proudly with integrity and respect. Kudos to Gen Xers like Brian Davis!  

What about you?  Does your integrity have a price?