Bobby Jones wins British Open in 1930

Image via Wikipedia

Bobby Jones was one of the world’s first star athletes.  He was a part-time amateur golfer who regularly defeated the professionals despite spending most of his time working as a lawyer.

He retired from competitive golf at the tender age of 28 as the most successful amateur golfer in history, winning multiple majors after a dominant period in the 1920’s.

What’s this got to do with integrity?

There’s a great story of Bobby playing in the US Open in 1925.

He was in the final round and in contention to win the tournament when he hit the ball into the rough.

As he prepared to take his shot, his club moved the ball slightly. 

There was no advantage gained by this, but Bobby knew that he had to penalise himself two strokes.

His caddy protested as they were alone and no-one else had seen the incident and he could have got away with it.

However, Jones knew what the right thing to do was.  He went up to a course marshall, explained what had happened, confirmed the penalty and went on to lose the tournament by one stroke.

After being praised for his actions, Jones said, “You may as well praise a man for not robbing a bank.”

What a terrific example of personal integrity!

He wasn’t caught, but confessed anyway.

He didn’t look around to see if anyone saw what had happened.

He didn’t rationalise to himself that he wasn’t advantaged by the ball moving slightly.

He made a mistake, he knew what the rules were, he knew what the right thing to do was and he acted according to his conscience.

What about you?

Do you work as hard when the boss is away as you do when they’re in the office?

Do you acknowledge your mistakes instead of getting defensive or rationalising your behaviour?

Do you have interactions with others that you wouldn’t have if your spouse was with you?

Who are you when no-one’s looking?

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