Does Golf Make Too Much of Politeness

By George WhiteMarch 4, 2004, 5:00 pm
I suppose we shouldnt make much of the Davis Love run-in with the hyperventilating fan last week. Goodness knows the USA Today columnist pontificated enough about it in a column earlier in the week.
 
Davis Love the Nerd - mocking his name, Davis Love III - was his frequent moniker for Love as he railed about the incident in which Love had the Tiger Woods fan ejected on the afternoon of the championship match at the Accenture.
 
To begin with, the columnist wasnt there when the nastiness was going on. I wasnt either, by the way ' I had been at LaCosta earlier in the week but had left by the time the Love-Woods match was played Sunday. So we both are in the same boat, reacting solely to what was told us.
 
I will quote Love himself and PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem. Loves version pinpoints the heckling at the first hole of the afternoon, the 19th overall. First, only his caddie heard it. On the second hole, Love himself heard it. The fan kept saying No Love! repeatedly, and when Love had heard it enough, he stepped up to the ropes, identified the young man, and had him ejected.
 
Was Love right or wrong? There are a thousand different ways to argue this one. No, the young man apparently didnt curse. He didnt show visual signs of being inebriated. He was a rabid Tiger fan with TW on the cap he was wearing. He rooted loud and long when Woods did something positive ' a fact duly noted, and applauded, by Love. But then he took his zeal one step further and began verbally attacking Love.
 
I know, I know ' such an outburst at a Duke basketball game would be laughable. There ' in any basketball game, as a matter of fact ' the idea isnt just to root on your own team. The idea is to jeer an opposing player until he eventually breaks down, missing a free throw or somesuch, or actually acknowledging the heckling with some sort of a gesture.
 
Thats OK, believes the columnist, who obviously has been to a multitude of sports events. His informer didnt believe the heckling was too bad. Shoot, a little friendly jibing, nothing too extreme, just a fella who wanted his man to win and Love to lose. After all, we assume, the kid paid for his ticket.
 
OK ' the problem is this: how close is he allowed to come to the player at a Duke basketball game? And how close is he allowed to come at a golf tournament?
 
In our sport, said Finchem, we give the fan an unusual amount of access and proximity to the athlete ' something you dont see in any other sport.
 
But, we expect ' and really must demand ' that if youre going to have that access, you have to conduct yourself in a way that is not interfering with the flow of competition.
 
Fans, you see, come so close to players on the tee that they could spit on them. Many times, a player walks through the crowd going from the green to the next tee. A player must walk about 200 yards through the crowds at Doral to get from the practice range to the putting green. If a fan so desires, he could walk step-by-step with the player of his choice.
 
And if the PGA Tour so desired, it could move the ropes far back from the action ' as far back as one would be at a football game, for example. They could move the player from driving range to putting green in an enclosed vehicle. No one would be allowed to ask a player for his autograph at the 18th green. The over-exuberant fan would be shuttled far to the back, as well as the guy who just wants to get close to his hero.
 
Does it bother the player to hear a loud yelp when he is making his backswing? Some, it does. Tigers dad used to rattle change while Tiger was making his swing, just to make him mentally tough. Most professional golfers, though, didnt have that kind of training. Most kids practicing field goals or free throws dont, either.
 
So is yelling wrong on the golf course? It all depends, I guess, on youre interpretation of wrong. I definitely have a personal viewpoint ' of course its wrong! But I have that view of loudmouth hecklers at a football game, a basketball game or a hockey game. Those sports tolerate the garbage that spews from the ticket buyers, so it must be OK in those arenas.
 
Golf, though, hasnt tolerated it very well. The reason, says Finchem, is that it affords fans a very up-close-and-personal look at the athletes. To some of you, golf should grow up and come kicking into the 21st century, where a fan pays for his ticket and is afforded the right to mentally break down athletes.
 
In so doing, though, something is lost. A very human quality called respect goes out the window. And at the golf tournament, officials have shown time and again they are not going to put up with it. If they ever do, the heckling fan is going to be a long, long way from his athlete-victim.

Day (68) just one back at Australian Open

By Nick MentaNovember 24, 2017, 6:40 am

Jason Day posted a second-round 68 to move himself just one off the lead held by Lucas Herbert through two rounds at the Emirates Australian Open. Here’s where things stand after 36 holes in Sydney.

Leaderboard: Herbert (-9), Day (-8), Cameron Davis (-7), Anthony Quayle (-6), Matt Jones (-4), Cameron Smith (-4), Nick Cullen (-4), Richard Green (-4)

What it means: Day is in search of his first worldwide victory of 2017. The former world No. 1 last visited the winner’s circle in May 2016, when he won The Players at TPC Sawgrass. A win this week would close out a difficult year for the Aussie who struggled with his game while also helping his mother in her battle with cancer. Day’s last victory on his native soil came in 2013, when he partnered with Adam Scott to win the World Cup of Golf for Australia at Royal Melbourne.


Full-field scores from the Emirates Australian Open


Round of the day: Herbert followed an opening 67 with a round of 66 to vault himself into the lead at The Australian Golf Club. He made six birdies, including four on his second nine, against a lone bogey to take the outright lead. The 22-year-old, who held the lead at this event last year and captured low-amateur honors in 2014, is coming off a runner-up finish at the NSW Open Championship, which boosted him from 714th to 429th in the Official World Golf Ranking. His 5-under score was matched by Dale Brandt-Richards and Josh Cabban.

Best of the rest: Matt Jones, who won this event over Jordan Spieth and Adam Scott two years ago, turned in 4-under 67. Jones is best known to American audiences for his playoff victory at the 2014 Shell Houston Open and for holding the 36-hole lead at the 2015 PGA Championship at Whistling Straits, which was eventually won by Day. Jones will start the weekend five shots off the lead, at 4 under par.

Biggest disappointment: Spieth has a lot of work to do this weekend if he expects to be in the title picture for the fourth year in a row. Rounds of 70-71 have him eight shots behind the lead held by Herbert. Spieth made a birdie and a bogey on each side Friday to turn in level par. The reigning champion golfer of the year has finished first, second and first at this event over the last three years.

Storyline to watch this weekend: The Australian Open is the first event of the 2018 Open Qualifying Series. The leading three players who finish in the top 10 and who are not otherwise exempt will receive invites into next summer’s Open Championship at Carnoustie.

Ogilvy urges distance rollback of ball

By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 23, 2017, 8:49 pm

Add Geoff Ogilvy to the chorus of voices calling for a distance rollback of the golf ball.

In an interview before the start of the Emirates Australian Open, Ogilvy said a "time-out" is needed for governing bodies to deal with the issue.

"It's complete nonsense," he said, according to an Australian website. "In my career, it’s gone from 300 yards was a massive hit to you’re a shorter hitter on tour now, legitimately short. It’s changed the way we play great golf courses and that is the crime. It isn’t that the ball goes 400, that’s neither here nor there. It’s the fact the ball going 400 doesn’t makes Augusta work properly, it functions completely wrong.’’


Full-field scores from the Emirates Australian Open


Ogilvy used an example from American baseball to help get his point across to an Australian audience.

“Major League Baseball in America, they use wooden bats, and everywhere else in baseball they use aluminium bats,’’ he said. “And when the major leaguers use aluminium bats they don’t even have to touch it and it completely destroys their stadiums. It’s just comedy.

“That’s kind of what’s happened to us at least with the drivers of these big hitters; We’ve completely outgrown the stadiums. So do you rebuild every stadium in the world? That’s expensive. Or make the ball go shorter? It seems relatively simple from that perspective.’’

Ogilvy, an Australian who won the 2006 U.S. Open, said he believes there will be a rollback, but admitted it would be a "challenge" for manufacturers to produce a ball that flies shorter for pros but does not lose distance when struck by recreational players.

The golf world celebrates Thanksgiving

By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 23, 2017, 6:01 pm

Here's a look, through social media, at how the golf world celebrates Thanksgiving.

Lexi Thompson:

Baking time!!

A post shared by Lexi Thompson (@lexi) on

David Feherty:

Jack Nicklaus:

GC Tiger Tracker:

Steve Stricker:

Golf Channel:

Frank Nobilo:

Ian Poulter:

Tyrone Van Aswegen:

Happy Thanksgiving: Biggest turkeys of 2017

By Grill Room TeamNovember 23, 2017, 3:00 pm

Thanksgiving brings us golf's biggest turkeys of the year. Donald Trump, Grayson Murray and a certain (now-former) tournament director headline the list. Click here or on the image below to check out all the turkeys.