Golfer Intentionally Throws Tournament Title In Playoff

May 6th, 2010-  By Bryan Cross

Golf has long been known as a game of honor.

That came to the forefront on the PGA Tour several weeks ago when Brian Davis called a penalty on himself in a playoff with Jim Furyk at the Verizon Heritage Classic.

As a result, Davis lost the tournament, but gained the respect of the golf world everywhere.

Flash forward several weeks, and another peculiar incident occurred.

Grant Whybark, a collegiate golfer from the University of St. Francis did something virtually unheard of.  Whybark made headlines this week for intentionally throwing a playoff, to allow his fellow competitor, Seth Doran of Olivet Nazarene, allowing him to win and make it to the national tournament individually.

Whybark made a double-bogey on the first playoff hole, that allowed Doran, who’s team did not quailfy, to advance.  Whybark was in the event regardless as his team had qualified.

The NAIA Tournament is schedule for May 18-21 and will be held at TPC at Deere Park in Illinois.  It is the same golf course where the PGA Tour play the John Deere Classic.

“I’ve known Seth for the past couple of years,” Whybark said to an ESPN radio affiliate. “He’s earned my respect on the golf course and off of it.”

“I talked with my team about it. The whole goal of the conference tournament is to advance to nationals. As soon as I had done that, not a whole lot else made a difference to me. And the kid has earned his spot, as everyone else did in the tournament. That’s my position on it.”

Whybark made note that his actions in no way affected an other players in the field than himself and Doran.

“It came down to whoever won the playoff hole,” Whybark said. “If I won, Seth didn’t get to go. If he won, he got to go. That’s where we were at.

“It was Seth or nobody.”

Whybark was informed that the individual winner received an automatic invitation into the tournament.  With Whybark already in, he stepped up and knocked his tee shot out of bounds.

Doran went on to make par.

“Originally, I thought he was in as well as me,” Whybark stated. “I thought it was the low medalist outside of the winning team. I made the comment to him on the tee, ‘We’re both in, right?’ That’s the first thing I said to him on the tee. And he said, ‘I don’t know.’ And his coach said that, too.”

“And we waited for my coach to come down and tell us whether we’re both in, or not. And I said, ‘That’s kind of stupid to even be out here if we’re both not in.’ And he kind of looked at me and shook his head.”

Whybark stated that Doran played well, and should have received the spot.

“Seth was elated, I’m sure, to get into the tournament,” Whybark remarked. “Like I said, I feel — and I feel my team knows it as well as I do — that he earned the spot fairly.

As for the PGA Tour this week, they are at The Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass.  Tiger Woods enters the first round as the betting favorite, with Phil Mickelson second in line on USA Online Sportsbooks.

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