If you’ve been watching this week’s PGA Championship – or nearly any tournament for the last year or two, it seems – you’ve no doubt been privileged to hear some of the great comedic minds of our time in the gallery.
Following every tee shot, it seems, someone is yelling out words of, well, encouragement, I guess.
It all started with the ever-popular “GET IN THE HOLE!” This really started following Tiger Woods around but has evolved to follow nearly everybody. It doesn’t matter if it’s a 150-yard par-3 or a 600-yard par-5 that even Bubba Watson would struggle to reach in two.
This week, obviously due to the increased focus that a major championship brings, this small group of fans is letting their voice be heard, and it’s gotten some of the more influential figures of the game more than a little annoyed.
During Saturday’s third round, following an Adam Scott drive, Sir Nick Faldo heard a fan scream “scalloped potatoes”, an interesting variant on the now-standard “mashed potatoes”. Faldo, in his work for CBS over the years, has certainly heard plenty of it and let his stance be known. “Please. Enough of that, this is a major,” Faldo said after the comment.
Ian Poulter, quite the prolific Tweeter these days, also took issue with the shouts.
We should be allowed to take 10’000 volt tazers onto the course and tazer ever muppet who shouts out something stupid. I would laugh then.
— Ian Poulter (@IanJamesPoulter) August 11, 2013
Now, I don’t personally care one way or the other if fans care to shout their support for players at an appropriate time, but Poulter and Faldo are right. The screaming the millisecond a player hits the ball is not the time to act like a fool. There is a line to be drawn, and it’s getting crossed more and more frequently.
As I write this, Jim Furyk has even had to turn to the gallery, or more likely the people in charge of keeping the fans quiet during play, to tell people to cool it, and he’s in the hunt for the win at Oak Hill.
Poulter went on to say that this type of boorish behavior wouldn’t fly at the Masters, the Open Championship, or Wimbledon, and I agree. The PGA Championship isn’t known for the same level of decorum as those other events, but there needs to be some respect for the players and the game, especially when majors are on the line. Fans should be respectful, and tournament employees should be willing to show those who can’t behave the way back to the parking lot.