Bob I agree if someone finds your ball you have to identify it, and if it is yours, you have to play it. What I am saying is no one is required to look for the ball, you can abandon the search / ball at any time, including not ever beginning a search.
Regarding the provisional ball in a penalty area, here is the rule, I am I misinterpreting something.
a. When Provisional Ball Is Allowed
If your ball might be lost OUTSIDE A PENALTY AREA or be out of bounds, to save time you may play another ball provisionally under penalty of stroke and distance
But IF YOU ARE AWARE THAT THE ONLY POSSIBLE PLACE YOUR ORIGINAL BALL COULD BE LOST IS IN A PENALTY AREA, A PROVISSIONAL BALL IS NOT ALLOWED and a ball played from where the previous stroke was made becomes your ball in play under penalty of stroke and distance
See you soon, love the discussions