Tag Archives: integrity

The Joy of a Two-Stroke Penalty

Story of the Day for Wed. October 3, 2012 

The Joy of a Two-Stroke Penalty


                . . . We are certain we have a clear conscience.  We want to behave honorably in all we do.

                                                                            Hebrews 13:18


Professional golfers play by strict, unbending rules. The rules state the situations where you must play the ball where it lies, and when you are allowed to move it. They even have rules for playing the ball if you hit it into an alligator’s mouth (I’m not making this up!)


In 1994, Davis Love III was playing in the Western Open near Chicago. He chipped a shot close to the hole and put a marker where his ball lay, but then moved his marker so it would be out of the putting line of the next golfer.

Later, as they continued play, Love couldn’t remember if he moved his marker back to the original spot. Whether he did or not, it made no difference to his “gimme” putt.  He probably moved his marker according to the rules, but he just couldn’t remember.

The rule book states that, if you think it’s possible you committed an infraction, and no one else was present to judge the case, then you have committed an infraction.

So, Love penalized himself with a two-stroke penalty.

That penalty he called on himself knocked him out of the tournament. Without that penalty, he would have automatically qualified for the Masters.

In the end, it all worked out well for Love. He did qualify for the Masters by winning a PGA tournament in 1995. And he came in second in the Masters – winning over a quarter million dollars.  But he did not know this at the time he gave himself the penalty that disqualified him from the tournament.


In his book, Every Shot I Take, Love does not consider what he did that day to be worthy of praise, and quotes Bobby Jones, “Don’t praise me for calling a penalty on myself. You might as well praise a man for not robbing a bank.”  Yet, most ignore Love’s self-effacing comments and praise him anyway.


But, some think he is a fool. Why penalize yourself two strokes when you’re not even sure you committed a penalty? Why penalize yourself when, even if you did make a mental error, it was not intentional? And it did not affect your score?  And, after asking everyone present, no one saw you commit a penalty?


Love’s defends the inflexible rules of his golf: “This may sound harsh to the non-golfer, but it’s not. Adhered to strictly, it eliminates the possibility of a golfer playing with a guilty conscience.”

Did you get that?  Love believes the money and fame is not worth it, if he does not have a clear conscience.

Yes, absolutely yes – Jesus can and will cleanse us when we have a guilty conscience. But we also need the wisdom to see that living an honorable life is more satisfying than all the money and fame this world can offer.

(copyright by climbinghigher.org and by Marty Kaarre)

Trustworthy in Big and Trivial Matters

Story of the Day for Wednesday June 22, 2011

Trustworthy in Big and Trivial Matters


                   Whoever can be trusted in little things can also be trusted with much, and whoever is untrustworthy in little things cannot be trusted with much. 

                                                                           Luke 16:10

 We tend to think of integrity as simply being honest.  Integrity, however, goes far deeper than that.  No one can deny your honesty if you tell them you think their clothes are ugly, or that you think people from other races are inferior, or you hope somebody dies.  But honesty alone does not make you a person of integrity.


Integrity begins with the discernment of what is right and what is wrong.  Adolf Hitler may have been honest in thinking he was a member of the superior race.  But he was wrong.


Integrity also involves the willingness to do what we believe is right – even at great personal cost. Philip Delesalle was the greatest gymnast Canada has ever known.  The gymnastics world honored him in 1992 by naming a move on the pommel horse the “Delesalle.”  In his career, he has scored three perfect tens on the pommel horse.

But in the 1980s, Michael J. Pellowski, in his book, Not-S0-Great Moments in Sports, writes how Delesalle was competing in the Canadian National Championships and was unhappy with his score for his performance on the pommel horse. What makes his dissatisfaction so unusual is that the judges gave him a perfect score!  Philip did not believe his performance merited a perfect 10, so he strode to the judges’ table and convinced them to change his score to 9.85.  That made him much happier.


When we encounter God’s integrity, we discover we can depend on him.  He is trustworthy.  Faith involves learning to do the same. When Jesus taught about integrity, he focused on becoming trustworthy.  It doesn’t matter if it is a big deal or a trivial matter. Whoever is trustworthy in little things will also be trustworthy in big things.


In 1987, the Rockdale County Bulldogs basketball team won the state title.  Their victory was all the more amazing because their coach, Cleveland Stroud, dropped five of his regular players from the team for poor grades.  He was now forced to bring up players from the junior varsity to fill out the team.

Three weeks after the championship victory, school officials discovered that one of those junior varsity players was scholastically ineligible.  He only played for 45 seconds at the end of a game in which the Bulldogs were leading by 23 points.

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For Coach Stroud there never was any question of what he had to do.  He informed the Georgia High School Association of the infraction and surrendered the state trophy.

In a press conference, Stroud said that “You got to do what’s honest and right and what the rules say.  I told my team that people forget the scores of basketball games; they don’t ever forget what you’re made of.”

                                          (copyright by climbinghigher.org and by Marty Kaarre)