In writing about J.P. Hayes' unfortunate disqualification at the second stage of PGA Tour Q School for using a ball not on the USGA's Conforming Golf Ball List, I suggested that any tournament director receiving a request from Hayes for a sponsor's exemption in 2009 should put him at the top of the list.
Clair Peterson, tournament director for the John Deere Classic didn't bother to wait for Hayes to reach out, offering Hayes a spot in the tournament to be held July 6-12, 2009 at TPC Deere Run in Silvis, Illinois. Hayes accepted the invitation.
"J.P.'s honesty in calling a penalty on himself during the PGA Tour's Qualifying School tournament is truly impressive, because by respecting the Rules of Golf he sacrificed any chance he had to earn full-time playing status on tour next year," said Peterson. "We certainly feel he deserves the opportunity to play here."
Hayes had pretty much earned an exemption to the Deere even before the Q-school situation. Hayes won the event in 2002 and finished second in 2006. Such credentials usually result in an invitation being offered.
Still, it was nice to see the Deere tournament act so swiftly. Other events would be wise to follow suit.
--E. Michael Johnson