Don't cry for Hayes just yet 

November, 19, 2008
J.P. Hayes' recent decision to disqualify himself from the second stage of the PGA Tour qualifying tournament after inadvertently playing with a nonconforming golf ball has elicited deserved applause from those who respect his honesty. The decision also has sparked debate over why such practice isn't applied to other sports.

Of course, such glorification for this gesture will appear a bit overblown in golf's inner circle, where it goes without saying that this was the only proper conclusion. As Bobby Jones said after receiving commendation for issuing himself a 2-stroke penalty during a playoff in the 1925 U.S. Open, "You may as well praise a man for not robbing a bank."

Hayes may have done a little more than not rob a bank, but his resolution is hardly uncommon in the golf world. In a sport governed not just by rules but also on a strict constitution called the "Rules of Golf," self-imposed penalties are frequently incurred in some of the direst of situations.

Jason Sobel | email

ESPN Senior Writer