Keeping Your Head in the Game

The shortest and surest way to live with honor in the world is to be in reality what we would appear to be.


The Open Championship, held each summer in Britain, is the oldest and perhaps most prestigious title in professional golf. In 2005, the tournament was held at the birthplace of golf, the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews in Scotland. Former Professional Golfers’ Association (PGA) champion David Toms, with one win and six top-10 finishes so far that season, was among a handful of players with a great chance to win. Then something unusual happened.

On the morning of the second round, Toms walked into the officials’ tent and explained to the bewildered officials (and later to the press) that the day before he might or might not have done something for which he should have taken penalty strokes. On the famous 17th hole, the Road Hole, he missed a medium-length putt, then strode to the hole and tapped it in. He was unsure, however, whether the ball might have been wobbling in the wind slightly when he did so. It is against the rules of golf to hit a ball while it is still in motion, and because he was not sure, David Toms disqualified himself from the Open.1

To disqualify yourself from a major tournament is an extraordinary act of sportsmanship; to do so for something that may or may not have happened, and that nobody else saw, is downright remarkable. Toms has always been known as one of the good guys on the PGA Tour. ...

Get How: Why How We Do Anything Means Everything, Expanded Edition now with the O’Reilly learning platform.

O’Reilly members experience books, live events, courses curated by job role, and more from O’Reilly and nearly 200 top publishers.