The RA on Tiger and heckling


You won’t necessarily be removed from the British Open if you heckle Tiger Woods.

And Woods isn't expected to get any security beyond what he normally gets if he tees it up at St. Andrews this summer.

That’s the jarring gist of the first two paragraphs in a Golfweek report filed today.

The story’s based on remarks made by Royal & Ancient chief executive Peter Dawson.

“As long as it’s not intrusive to the game or the championship, then people can say what they like,” Dawson says in the Golfweek story. “We’re not a police state here. But if they [the galleries] start putting players off, then we’ll have something to say about that.”

Augusta National chairman Billy Payne chastised Woods in no uncertain terms before the Masters, but it’s unclear what message Dawson is delivering before the British Open. Whatever it is, Woods’ supporters can’t like it.

“Because his was the first event back, [Payne] had a decision to make [on whether to comment on Tiger],” Dawson said. “I think having made that decision, Billy’s comments were very measured and well crafted. He had the disadvantage of it being Tiger’s first event back, but that’s a challenge, thank goodness, that we don’t have.

“I did describe myself as Tiger’s biggest fan, and I remain the biggest fan of his golf game. I’m just very sad at what has happened, and I’m sure he is, on reflection, too.

“There have been a lot of people who said they saw this coming, but I’m not one of them. It’s been a great shock to all of us in golf, but time has now passed and let’s hope he can return a stronger person. I’m not going to get into people’s private lives.”

But is it OK if British Open fans do? As long as it’s not “intrusive to the game.” And what does that mean?

If Woods was nervous about appearing for Augusta National patrons, how does this make him feel about going to St. Andrews?