In 1990, Tom Lehman was attempting to get on the Professional Golf Association (PGA) tour. In order to do so, he had to go through qualifying school, a rigorous test of nerves and skill. During this event, as he addressed the ball, the gusty wind caught the ball and moved it. The rule is clear; if the ball moves after you address it, you are penalized one stroke. Tom called the penalty on himself, and, you guessed it, missed qualifying for the tour by one stroke.
When asked why he turned himself in, he responded, “If a breach of the rules had occurred and I didn’t call it on myself, I couldn’t look myself in the mirror, you’re only as good as your word. And your word wouldn’t be worth much if you can’t even be honest with yourself.” You see, Lehman valued integrity more than playing on the tour. As a result, the decision was easy and made without regret, even though he was forced to wait another year before he could play with the “big boys.”
(Excerpted from the Bent Tree Bible Fellowship publication Something Bigger Than Ourselves.