JP Hayes: The most honest golfer in the world? Or just plain crazy?
A few years ago I penned a column opining on the primary difference between male and female golfers. In my view, it’s pretty simple: men cheat more.
In light of recent events concerning one J.P. Hayes, I take it all back.
If you’ve been living under the proverbial rock, Hayes is a golf pro who’s been trying to earn his Tour card for next year. At Q-school last week, he was doing just fine until he realized, after finishing a par 3, that he had played a ball other than the type he’d started his round with.
Being the upstanding golf citizen that he is, he called a two-stroke penalty on himself. No fun, but even with the penalty he was still in contention for making it to the final round of Q-school.
But the story doesn’t end there. Later in his hotel room, he realized with a start that the errant ball wasn’t just the wrong model?it was illegal.
“It was a Titleist prototype, and somehow it had gotten into my bag,” Hayes explained later. “It had been four weeks since Titleist gave me some prototype balls and I tested them. I have no idea or why it was still in there.”
What’s an upstanding golf citizen to do? Disqualify himself.
So a guy who really, really needed to earn that Tour card just disqualified himself from the only means by which he can earn that Tour card, by pointing out an error that frankly, no one in the world would ever have known about otherwise.
Hayes has my respect, no question. He also has a few people wondering if he’s completely batfreaking insane. But he understands what those kinds of people don’t: in golf, we don’t have anyone looking over our shoulders calling the shots and the fouls. In golf, we call them ourselves. We are our own referees.
The price for honesty in this case was awfully high?a PGA Tour card. But Hayes would rightly argue that it wasn’t being honest that cost him the card?it was playing an illegal ball.
When it comes to integrity, tournament golf demands a high standard, and J.P. Hayes just met it.
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