Although I don’t generally follow golf, I found this story to be incredibly relevant to public relations.
Golfer J.P Hayes’ turned himself in when he realized that he had mistakenly used an unapproved golf ball for two strokes during the the first round of the PGA Tour’s qualifying tournament. Had he not admitted his mistake, it’s very likely that no one would have noticed and he’d be well on his way to the PGA Tournament next year. The penalty that resulted disqualified him from the second stage of qualifying school.
In a time when sports is often associated with cheating and scandal, this move received quite a bit of attention. Isn’t everyone tired of hearing about steroids? Hayes’ act of honesty scored him some great publicity, and I think is great for the sport as well. Here’s just another reason to view golf as a sport of integrity, rather than just another competition.
I would imagine that despite the disqualification, Hayes, the PGA Tour and golf in general are pleased with the outcome. In fact, Hayes has already begun to reap additional benefits. Over the weekend, he accepted a sponsor’s exemption to the 2009 Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial in Fort Worth, Texas.