Last week’s Presidents Cup despite being a non-event as a golfing contest highlighted the appalling behaviour of fans with spectators openly hurling abuse at the International players. Patriotism is fine but the fervour that now accompanies the Ryder Cup and other Team competitions has now reached such proportions that it’s not surprising that certain members of the gallery go over the top and seem to find delight in shouting needless and mindless comments.
It has never been acceptable for crowds to boo good shots and cheer missed putts but this is a growing and worrying trend that the authorities seem unable to contain. Whilst it’s a good thing to try to modernise the game to increase participation there comes a point where a balance has to be reached between trying to attract new players and still keeping the games intrinsic values.
It has become really annoying to hear some moron shout ‘va va boom!’ or other such nonsense when a player tees off and surely it’s not beyond the realms of possibility that they can be identified and ejected from the grounds. All it would take would be for the tournament organisers to pre-warn spectators that anyone found shouting would be ejected. They should be easily identified by other spectators who can point the offender out to the stewards and then they are allowed to cheer when he is ejected!
It does seem to be that the more golf that is televised then we seem to be hearing more and more gallery noise and the various “new” attempts to make the more modern seem to actually encourage the gallery to make some noise. Just look at the long driving contest televised this week both the commentators and some players were actually encouraging the crowd to ‘get involved’ whilst the player was hitting his shot. It is therefore not surprising that any new spectator that has come to the game after watching such events think this is the normal way to behave at a proper event.
Ok, let’s try to modernise the game but at the same time please don’t forget there are certain values that make golf the great game it is and these must be maintained and there is no place for abuse of players or just making nonsensical comments out loud.