Players support music played on range in Abu Dhabi


The European Tour is getting creative once again at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship, and their decision to add some on-course music appears to have plenty of player support.

A DJ booth has been set up near the driving range in Abu Dhabi, and several players took turns manning the station Wednesday. When competition begins in earnest, the music will morph into walk-up songs as players make their way to the opening tee box.

"We're in the entertainment business," European Tour CEO Keith Pelley told the Associated Press. "As long as you are always conscious of the integrity and protection of the game's magic. But you are always looking to improve your product, in any business that you run."

This is far from the first innovation introduced by Pelley, who took the reins in 2015. Later this year the circuit will debut a match-play event featuring six-hole matches, and last year it conducted an under-the-lights shootout - complete with pyrotechnics - at the British Masters.

According to the report, range music will be included at big events like the BMW PGA Championship as well as other Rolex Series tournaments, with Pelley adding that on-course music will soon be "synonymous with golf."

"Obviously, I like it," Dustin Johnson told reporters in advance of his first start in Abu Dhabi. "If I'm at home playing golf, I always have music going. It's something that I think a lot of the guys do. It's kind of nice, keeps you kind of relaxed on the driving range."

"I like practicing to music, so I'm all for it," added Henrik Stenson. "I would imagine the majority of players and the majority of the fans will like it. It creates a nice atmosphere, and I think that could be a good way going forward."

While the extra atmosphere has the approval of players like Johnson and Stenson, it has yet to be unanimously embraced. Former Open champ Paul Lawrie, who is on the committee that approved the music, reportedly found it was playing so loud on Tuesday that he had trouble hearing his caddie.

But by Wednesday, the tunes were playing at a softer decibel.

"You need to try (these ideas) to see if they work or not," Lawrie told the AP. "Everyone seems to quite like it, but I'm just old. I'm old-school."