Finchem Handle Hecklers Differently

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PGA Tour (75x100)MIAMI -- PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem wants hecklers dealt with differently from now on.
 
Finchem conceded Wednesday that neither Davis Love III nor tour officials handled the situation properly when Love was harangued by a spectator during the final round of the Match Play Championship.
 
The commissioner and golfer spoke at length about the way Love confronted the gallery and demanded the heckler be taken away.
 
Finchem said players are supposed to respond to distracting situations by telling scorers, who forward the information to officials and then security personnel, if necessary. He said he didn't have a 'big problem' with Love taking matters into his own hands, but only because tour officials failed to deal with the situation from the outset.
 
'Davis makes it quite clear that if he had to do this over again, he would have gone to somebody,' Finchem said a day before the opening round of the Ford Championship at Doral. 'If he had it to do over again, he wouldn't do it again. And I appreciate his attitude on that.'
 
Love had a 1-up lead over Tiger Woods halfway through the 36-hole final at La Costa on Sunday when a man started needling him. Love didn't win another hole after that. Woods, the No. 1 player in the world, rallied to win 3 and 2.
 
The man let out a 'Whoop!' when Love missed a par putt on the 20th hole that squared the match. The fan started yelling, 'No Love!' as Love stepped to his ball on the fifth tee. Love sought out the spectator, saying he wouldn't continue to play until the fan was found.
 
A man wearing a Tiger Woods logo cap was identified as the heckler and tossed out.
 
Love defended his actions Tuesday, saying hecklers should be tossed from the course. 'The people who disagree with that, they don't understand the game,' he said.
 
Love is not playing at Doral this week. But Finchem believes the highly publicized episode will help the PGA Tour be better prepared for anyone intentionally trying to distract golfers during the first tournament on the Florida Swing and in the future.
 
'This situation is going to bring focus for all our people in the family, volunteers, marshals, our staff -- how we need to take up that execution,' Finchem said. 'It's also going to bring to the attention of the players this issue, 'What do I do if I'm in that situation? What's the best way to get this situation handled?''
 
Finchem said educating fans might be more crucial to fixing the problem, which he said happens just about every week but doesn't normally get as much attention as it did at the Match Play Championship.
 
'This isn't hockey. We can't play the game if certain things go on,' he said. 'We want you out here, we want you close by, but we demand your respect.'
 
Woods, who is playing at the Dubai Desert Classic this week, echoed Finchem's remarks Wednesday.
 
'Things like that happen in our sport and there's no need,' Woods said. 'It's great when you have tournaments like Augusta that police themselves, where people watching take care of fans not behaving properly. But it's happening more and more. We're bringing new fans in -- usually soccer, American football or basketball fans.
 
'They are used to a raucous atmosphere, but golf is not like that.'
 
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