I consider myself an honest person. I like to think that I would never accept an award or a trophy for something that I earned in a dishonest fashion. Even so, I think that it would be extremely difficult to be in the position in which 14-yer-old Zach Nash found himself after a recent Junior PGA golf tournament in Wisconsin. Nash had won the tournament with a strong showing against a field of other talented young golfers. Hours after the tournament ended, he was spending time with one of his golf mentors, celebrating the win. His friend pointed out that Zach had an extra club in his golf bag, one more than is allowed by PGA rules. Zach was crushed. The club had been left at his house by a friend, and he had dropped it into his golf bag without thinking about it. Realizing that he had not taken the 2-strokes-per-hole penalty required by the PGA for carrying an extra club, Zach called the tournament officials and reported the violation. He turned in the medal he had won, which was then awarded to the tournament’s runner-up.
What would you have done if you were in this situation? Nash hadn’t used the extra club, so it had no bearing at all on the outcome of the tournament. It certainly would have been easy to keep his mouth shut and keep his victory. There was very little chance that anyone would have ever known. Zach did the right thing, though. Rules are rules, and whether or not you think that the rule is silly or pointless, if you enter the tournament, you have tacitly agreed to abide by the rules. I admire this young golfer for having the guts to do the right thing. I would love to say that I know I would do the same thing if I were in his place, but I am not certain that would be true.
Professional athletes have been put into this position in the past. I imagine there have been some who have been honest and some who have not. Of course, there is usually a lot of money involved in these cases. That makes the situation even hairier. Giving back a medal is one thing, while giving back tens of thousands of dollars (or more) is something else entirely. I feel like honesty has to be the way to go, regardless. I agree that it is very easy for me to say that, as I lay on my sofa watching NASCAR.
So how about it? What would you have done if you were Zach Nash? I’d love to hear.
Good sports, continued:
2) I have been going to baseball games for my entire life. In all of those years, I have not only never caught a foul ball, but I have never even gotten a hand on one. As a matter of fact, I don’t think I have ever had one land within 15 feet of me. A woman at a Tampa Bay Rays game on Wednesday night actually had three foul balls hit right to her. Three. The first one actually nailed her right in the face, but she caught the next two. Way to stand in there, lady. Nice work.
1) Victoria Azarenka, a 21-year-old tennis player from Belarus, collapsed during her second round match at the U.S. Open on Wednesday. She was reportedly suffering from a concussion that occurred when she fell while running during warmups for her match.
2) Last week, I mentioned the difficulties Washington Nationals outfielder Nyjer Morgan had with some fans in Philadelphia. Little did I know that his problems were just beginning. Last Saturday, Morgan appeared to blatantly go after Cardinals catcher Brian Anderson during a play at the plate. Anderson didn’t even have the ball at the time, and Morgan went out of his way to hit him. Then, on Wednesday, Morgan was in the middle of a brawl between the Nationals and the Marlins. The night before, he had collided with the Marlins catcher, Brett Hayes. Noticing a trend and wanting to break him of it, Marlins pitcher Chris Volstad hit Morgan with a pitch. Morgan responded by stealing a couple of bases, even though his team was down 11 runs. The next time Morgan came up, Volstad threw at him again. This time, Morgan charged the mound and threw a punch. Major League Baseball has responded by suspending Morgan for eight games. Those eight are in addition to the seven game suspension for last week’s Phildaelphia incident. Sounds like someone needs some anger management classes.
3) Texas Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton is out indefinitely after hurting his ribs in a collision with the outfield wall. This is a huge loss for the Rangers, as Hamilton is currently leading the American League in hitting.
4) If you ever want to feel better about your worst golf shot ever, just take a look at what happened out in Irvine, California, last week. A golfer, who has not been publicly identified, made contact with a rock while swinging his golf club during a round at Shady Canyon Golf Course. The rock sparked and the dry grass caught fire. 150 firefighters were needed to put out the blaze that consumed 25 acres. Ouch.
Bad Sports, Good Sports appears every Monday.
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