May 27, 2009
Former Baylor golfer Jeremy Alcorn won four tournaments during his four-year career with the Bears. The 2005 PING All-America honorable mention selection ranks third all-time in school history in career top-5 finishes (11), fourth in career top-10 finishes (17) and fourth in career rounds played (133). He is currently playing professionally on the AdamsGolf Pro Tour.
Written by Jim Moore
United States Golf Association
Director, Green Section Construction Education Program
We golfers are sometimes pretty smug about the fact that our sport is the purest of sports if for no other reason that we are willing to call penalties on ourselves. In an era where hardly a day goes by without hearing of athletes in other sports cheating to win, golf frequently witnesses the most extraordinary displays of honesty and integrity.
It is one thing to call a penalty on yourself when the most you can lose is a couple of bucks, or when you are on national television and have little choice thanks to high definition and instant replay. But how about when no one knows about your infraction but you and owning up to it costs you dearly in your efforts to "make it" in your chosen profession.
Jeremy Alcorn is a young golf professional playing on the AdamsGolf Pro Tour - a mini-tour held in the mid-south region of the United States. Like almost all mini-tour players, Jeremy's goal is to develop his game and reputation to the point of someday qualifying to compete on the PGA Tour. Every stroke and every dollar counts for these players who often rely on their own money and the support of family and friends to fund their expenses as they try to make it to the "big time".
With a grand total of less than $5000 in winnings through his previous six tournaments, it is a safe assumption that Jeremy was more than a little excited to be leading the tournament after the first day's play at the Victoria Country Club in south Texas in late April. Starting on the back nine for the second round, Jeremy was playing well until, on the 15th hole, his ball found a lateral water hazard. Taking his penalty and relief under rule 26-1, he dropped his ball out of the hazard but found his stance was still in the hazard. Mistakenly believing he was entitled to re-drop, he picked up the ball. A rules official observed him doing so and informed him he had violated rule 18-2 (Ball at Rest Moved) and would have to replace the ball and add a one-stroke penalty. Although Jeremy was at first unsure of the ruling, he accepted the officials decision and continued play. Where the story gets interesting is what happened next.
As he played the remainder of the back nine, Jeremy remembered he had exactly the same situation arise during the first day's play, except there was no official around to inform him that he had done anything against the rules. Realizing what he had done, at the turn he informed the tournament director that not only had he violated the rule, he had signed an incorrect scorecard and believed he should be disqualified (6-6d), which he was. No one but Jeremy knew he had made a mistake regarding the rules during the previous day's play. It would be been very easy for a young pro in contention for his first tour victory to remain quiet and continue in the competition.
If hearing about an athlete that plays by the rules and, in spite of the cost, conducts himself as a true sportsman is not enough to make you smile, maybe the last part of the story will. The following week the tour and Jeremy moved to Waco to play the Jamie Hilton Hillcrest Children's Golf Classic at the Twin Rivers Golf Club. Twin Rivers is the home of the Baylor University men's golf team on which Jeremy had played his college golf. On a long and tough par-72 course, Jeremy shot 70, 70, 68 and 71 to force a playoff - which he won on the first hole.