Before Tom Lehman had the chance to prove himself on the PGA Tour, he had to enter the 1990 qualifying school (Q-school, as the pros call it) for the PGA Tour. During the high-pressure, all-or-nothing event, Lehman called a penalty stroke on himself. A stiff breeze caused Lehman’s ball to move slightly after he addressed it, and the rules are clear: If the ball moves, you are penalized one stroke. The result? Lehman missed qualifying for the cut for the tour by—you guessed it-a single stroke.
If the most important thing in Lehman’s life was qualifying for the tour, if his values were based on success rather than faithfulness, he might not have called the penalty stroke. But his faith in Christ, coupled with the importance of living on the basis of real values, called him to honesty. His honesty resulted in waiting another year to qualify.
“If a breach of the rules had occurred and I didn’t call it on myself, I couldn’t look at myself in the mirror,” explained Lehman. “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.”
Lehman’s loss at the Q-school sent him in 1991 to what’s now known as the Nationwide Tour, where he set a tour record with seven tournament wins in a single season. The confidence he gained while waiting for his dream led to his subsequent PGA Tour victories, but that isn’t what made his decision best. It was the fact that it reflected his values and resulted in faithfulness. (from Rick Ezell’s One Minute Uplift newsletter)
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