The year was 1972 and he had played three rounds for a 10-under par 203 only to be disqualified. He had failed to sign his scorecard!
When what had happened became known a lot of people were up in arms. One irate fan, a close friend of Player’s, exploded, “It looks like there would be someone in the scoring tent to make sure everyone signs his card!”
It’s true, Gary Player lost the $200,000 Greater Greensboro Open Golf Tournament, but he won the lasting admiration of thousands by his response to that loss.
He said, “There are responsibilities in this life. You cannot shove your responsibilities onto the shoulders of someone else. This was my responsibility and I failed to meet it. So I must suffer the consequences.”
Golfing rules are specific. Before turning his card over to the scoring committee a golfer must sign it. Gary Player, on that day, forgot to do so.
Just as there are rules in the game of golf, there are rules laid down for the game of life. To be sure there are those who delight in flaunting the rules, cutting corners, making exceptions and taking advantage of situations and individuals, but in the long run only those who follow the guidelines win.
All along life’s journey there are interpretations to be made and judgment calls to be applied.
God has given us a Rule Book of Life. That book speaks to us in no uncertain terms about laws that cannot be broken without costly consequences.
More than three thousand years ago—through Moses— God gave to mankind ten cardinal principles for living life at its highest and best. Some years ago Dr. Elton Trueblood put them in verse form to help us remember them. Above all else love God alone; Bow down to neither wood nor stone.
God’s name refuse to take in vain;
The Sabbath rest with care maintain.
Respect your parents all your days;
Hold sacred human life always.
Be loyal to your chosen mate;
Steal nothing, neither small nor great.
Keep to the truth in word and deed;
And rid your mind of selfish greed.
Rev. Nichols is Minister Emeritus of First Christian Church, Temple, where he was senior minister for 23 years. He writes a religious column for several newspapers.