In 1994 golfer Davis Love called a one-stroke penalty on himself during the second round of the Western Open.
He moved his marker out of the path of another player’s putting line; then later he couldn’t remember if he’d moved his ball back to its original spot.
Since he wasn’t certain, he gave himself an extra stroke.
And that one stroke caused him to be eliminated from the tournament.
At year’s end Love was $590 short in winnings to automatically qualify for the Masters, and needed to win a tournament to get into one of golf’s most coveted events.
Fortunately, the story ends well.
The week before the big event he qualified by winning a tournament in New Orleans, and went on to earn $237,600 by finishing second in the 1995 Masters.
Later, when asked how he’d have felt if he’d missed the Masters because of calling a penalty on himself, Love replied, ‘The question is how I’d have felt if I’d won and spent the rest of my life wondering if I’d cheated.’
It’s easier to maintain your integrity than to regain it. It may cost you to do the right thing, but it will cost you more to abandon your principles.
In the words of Shakespeare: ‘To thine own self be true, and it must follow, as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man.’