High School Golfer Makes Sports Illustrated’s Sportsmanship of the Decade Awards

A high school golfer has made the list on Sports Illustrated’s Sportsmanship of the Decade Awards for correcting a scorecard even though it would cost him the State Championship:

Adam Van Houten; Oct. 15, 2005
Mount Gilead High sophomore Van Houten shot 144 over two rounds to win the Ohio Division II golf tournament by six strokes. After signing his scorecard, however, Van Houten double-checked his rounds and realized that he had recorded the 10th hole one stroke better than he had actually scored. For Van Houten, this meant that he had had actually defeated the field by five strokes, rather than the six he was credited for. The stroke in question would have no bearing on the competition, only on Van Houten’s conscience, so he reported the error even though he knew that a card signed with an incorrect score disqualifies the player. Thus, Van Houten lost the tournament and his state title.

It’s a nice gesture, but I’m reminded of Bobby Jones’ comment when he was praised for calling a penalty on himself in the 1925 US Open:“You might as well praise a man for not robbing a bank.”

The rest of the Sports Illustrated article also is worth reading, if only for the reassurance—against the backdrop of the nightly news—that there still are good people out there.

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