Davis concedes playoff to champ Furyk

Updated: April 19, 2010, 12:06 AM ET
Associated Press

HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. -- Brian Davis couldn't deny what he saw and knew he was honor-bound to tell the world.

Davis ticked a loose reed during his backswing Sunday on the first playoff hole, calling a two-stroke penalty on himself that gave Jim Furyk a victory at the Verizon Heritage.

"It's just awkward to see it happen at such a key moment in the golf tournament," Furyk said. "Awkward for him to lose that way, and a little awkward for me to win."

Davis immediately asked for PGA Tour tournament director Slugger White and shared what he saw on the shot. White consulted with officials who checked TV replays and confirmed Davis' worst fear: His violation cost him a chance at his first PGA Tour victory.

What Davis lost on the course will be regained in his reputation for his honorable act, White said.

"That will come back to him spades, tenfold," White said.

That was little consolation for Davis, who rolled in a clutch 18-footer for birdie on his final regulation hole to catch Furyk and force overtime.

Davis' troubles began with his approach, a wayward 7-iron that hit the left edge of the green, rattled off the rocks boarding Calibogue Sound and settled among some grass, twigs and reeds.

[+] EnlargeBrian Davis
Scott Halleran/Getty ImagesBrian Davis, left, called a two-shot penalty on himself that cost him a chance to win the Verizon Heritage, a decision that drew praise from PGA Tour rules official Slugger White, right.

Davis' error, a violation of rule 13.4 against moving a loose impediment during a takeaway, was indiscernible but for slow motion replays.

"It was one of those things I thought I saw movement out of the corner of my eye. And I thought we'd check on TV, and indeed there was movement," Davis said.

He immediately conceded victory to Furyk, who putted out for his 15th PGA Tour win and second since March.

Furyk didn't know what to do at first. He raised his putter and tipped his cap to the cheering and confused crowd, then embraced his children who ran to meet their championship dad.

"I want to react to the crowd and kind of wave and let them know, that 'Hey, I'm excited,' " Furyk said. "But I don't want it to take away from Brian."

Furyk earned $1,026,000 million, finally tasting victory at Harbour Town after posting two seconds and a fourth since 2005.

Davis earned $615,000 for his fourth second-place finish on the PGA Tour.

"To have the tournament come down that way is definitely not the way I wanted to win," Furyk said. "It's obviously a tough loss for him and I respect and admire what he did."

Davis nearly won in regulation, his approach to his final hole scaring the cup before settling 18 feet away. His birdie putt had just enough steam to drop in and keep hope of a breakthrough win alive.

Moments later, the playoff was done with Davis' self-imposed violation, something inconceivable in most other sports, where competitors take pride in getting every edge they can.

"He's class, first class," White said.

Davis held a one-shot lead over Furyk with four holes left when things began to go wrong. Davis had back-to-back bogeys on the 15th and 16th holes to slip behind the ultra-steady Furyk.

Davis shot a 68 and, like Furyk, ended with four rounds in the 60s.

Bo Van Pelt (69) and Luke Donald (70) were two shots further back in third.

Camilo Villegas (70) headed a group another stroke behind.

The final round wasn't nearly as crazy as the third -- Furyk still had the lead when he teed off on No. 1 unlike Saturday. Still, the charge was on to go as low as possible and take control.

Heath Slocum, two behind at the start, had birdies on the second, fourth and six holes to catch Furyk.

Former champion Aaron Baddeley tied Furyk at 11 under. But a triple-bogey 7 on No. 8 -- Baddeley drove out of bounds -- ended his chance of a second title.

By the middle of the back nine, it was down to Furyk and Davis.

Furyk missed a 15-foot par putt on the 10th to drop into a tie with Davis, his playing partner.

The world's sixth-ranked player moved back in front two holes later with 5-footer for birdie. However, Davis caught him once more on the 13th hole after making a 12-foot birdie putt and Furyk failing to covert one from half that distance.

Davis moved in front on the par-3 14th when Furyk landed over the green, chipped 12 feet past the cup and was short on his attempt at par.

But things were again tied a hole later, as Davis didn't make a 6-foot putt to save par, setting the dramatic finish.

Brian Gay, the 2009 Verizon Heritage champion, finished this tournament at 4-under 280, 16 shots more than his record winning total of a year ago.


Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press

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