J.P. Hayes: Good Guy; Bad Goof

It's died down a bit now, but the praise heaped upon golfer J.P. Hayes for essentially disqualifying himself for using a non-approved Titleist during the second round of a qualifier came from all corners.

It's kind of sad that someone is complimented incessantly for simply upholding the rules of a very traditional game.  Hayes said so himself.  "It's important for players to police themselves," he told ESPN.  "We don't have referees."

If pros don't police themselves, who will?  And Hayes does deserve plaudits for doing the right thing.  It would have been so easy to ignore the violation.  No one would have known.  The ball was a prototype and looked no different than any other golf ball in his bag.  But why did his caddy even have the ball in the bag to begin with?

Players and caddies both know that using such golf balls is a no-no during competition.  Hayes has been a touring pro for a long time.  Navigating his way through the qualifiers to earn a PGA tour card for 2009 was important to this 43 year-old from Wisconsin.  He's got only a few years left to make a really good living on tour.  So why would an experienced player even put himself in a position to make such an error?

At least he knows now that he's one of those guys who isn't afraid to call a penalty on himself no matter what the consequences... or the stakes.