November 19, 2008

Golfer Plays Illegal Ball in PGA Qualifying Round: After two rounds of PGA Tour qualifying last week, golfer J.P. Hayes made an excruciating discovery -- a ball he had used during the first round was a Titleist prototype that wasn't approved for competition. He could say nothing and go on to a likely berth in the final qualifying stage in December or turn himself in and be disqualified. "I called an official in Houston that night and said, 'I think I may have a problem,'" he said.

posted by rcade to golf at 06:53 PM - 12 comments

Good thing D. McNabb doesn't play golf. He never would've known.

As far as Hayes is concerned, he did the right thing (as most professional golfers seem to do)and he knows it. But, it may be time for a new caddy, that son of a ...

posted by BoKnows at 09:12 PM on November 19, 2008

True sportsmanship. Wonderful to see. Brings a tear to my eye.

I am not a fan of watching golf (have enjoyed playing it in the past) but really, stuff like this makes me want to pay more attention. So much of sports is fucked by gamesmanship and cheating and all the other sordid things we've come to have to accept or not watch...

I may just shed a tear of joy over this.

Kudos to you J.P.. Kudos to you. May you win a very big tournament in the near future. With the right ball.

posted by Drood at 01:53 AM on November 20, 2008

Pretty amazing. He called himself out twice, knowing fully well that no one else would have been aware of the situation.

In a token of appreciation, I will not take any mulligans for the rest of the year. Unless, of course, I have like $.50 riding on the hole.

posted by dviking at 04:16 PM on November 20, 2008

Pro golfers, especially those with as much on the line as Hayes did, do impress me. This is what sets golf apart from other sports. It would be nice if some of the hackers I play in B.S. tournaments with, for rinky-dink prizes, acted the same way.

posted by dyams at 04:47 PM on November 20, 2008

None of this would have happened if Hayes had just asked a PGA official to check out his balls.


posted by wfrazerjr at 10:04 AM on November 21, 2008

None of this would have happened if Hayes had just asked a PGA official to check out his balls.

That's also a two stroke penalty.


posted by dfleming at 10:40 AM on November 21, 2008

If I read the story correctly, Hayes says he's anal about checking balls

that confuses me

posted by dviking at 01:01 PM on November 21, 2008

I don't get what the big deal is all about. So J.P. Hayes told the officials that he was using a Titleist prototype that wasn't approved for competition, and? Isn't that what the "sport" of golf consists of? Honesty? Good for him but IMO, so what??

This has got to be a slow sports week for this to actually be considered a story.

posted by BornIcon at 02:08 PM on November 21, 2008

It's a story because it's rare for someone to 'fess up to cheating when the chance of getting caught is nil. If we're going to bitch all the time about athletes who cheat, it's worth celebrating the ones who step up and do the right thing.

posted by rcade at 02:33 PM on November 21, 2008

No kidding rcade. I am still in awe of this guy and get a little smile every time I think about this story. Just such an awesome thing to do. Knowing full well he'd be DQ'ed, he still did the right thing.

As I said up above, it brings a tear to my eye. In an era where so much of sports is sordid, nasty etc... We need more rays of hope like this.

posted by Drood at 03:53 PM on November 21, 2008

And if this story has made Drood feel this way, then it was worth posting for sure.

posted by BoKnows at 09:01 PM on November 21, 2008

Cricket thinks of itself as a game full of honest behaviour and good manners, but I heard an amusing story about Michael Vaughan [former England cricket captain] that highlights the difference between the attitudes in cricket and golf.

Vaughan was notoriously good at unsettling oppositions - not illegally or even unsportingly, just by doing things slightly differently. He was invited by someone to go to Hoylake in 2006 to watch the Open. He spent several holes following Tiger Woods (who won that Open at a canter and was imperious throughout). Finally someone he was with asked:

"Well, what do you think?"

"Impressive. But there's got to be some way to get under his skin..."

It made me laugh at the time, and as an attitude, it appealed to me more than the one held by a lot of professional golfers these days ("we're all playing for second place if Tiger's in the field"), but really it serves to highlight the nature of golf.

The game is played within oneself, not at anyone else. It should be played with a view to achieving victory, not causing the opponent to experience defeat. Tiger's self belief is exactly that - belief in himself. It doesn't even consider anyone else. His goal is not to be better than everyone else, his goal is to be the best he can be. In many ways, part of the uphill battle the rest of the golfing world faces is that Woods looms over it. They have allowed him into their minds, but none of them is in his.

Within that context, what JP did is entirely normal. Had he let it slide and said nothing, he could have pulled the wool over everyone's eyes but his own.

posted by JJ at 05:14 AM on November 23, 2008

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