USGA to allow cell phones at U.S. Women's Open

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KOHLER, Wis. – There’s something radically different about this U.S. Women’s Open at Blackwolf Run.

Spectators, for the first time in the history of a U.S. Golf Association championship, are permitted to carry and use cell phones.

What do the players think about that?

“It's fine,” Michelle Wie said. “I think even when you didn't allow them, they were still out there. As long as everyone just turns them off, it doesn't really bother us that much. Just take pictures, but turn the sound off.”

Actually, photographs are only allowed during practice rounds.

Here are other restrictions:

• No video or audio recording.

• Phones must be set to silent or vibrate mode.

• Phone calls may be received or made only in designated areas.

• Texting and emailing is allowed on the course but not in the presence of a player who has addressed her ball and not until the player completes her swing.

Whether cell phones will be permitted in other USGA events may depend on how the new policy works this week. 

“This is very manageable environment to be able to test this out,” said the USGA’s Ben Kimball, director of the U.S. Women’s Open. “It will be a new experience for us, but we hope it will be a pleasant one.”