by G. Rennie
We’ve all the heard the saying “I went to a fight and a hockey game broke out” which is a reference to the pugilistic nature of modern professional hockey. I think we’re approaching the time when we can say, without much exaggeration, something similar about a PGA golf tournament. The 16th hole at the TPC Scottsdale, in what’s now called the Waste Management Phoenix Open, is more like a football game atmosphere than a golf tourney, at least in my mind.
When did booing become an accepted form of fan interaction on the PGA tour? Why do players need to placate the vultures there to keep them relatively quiet while they play out the hole?
It used to be that folks who overindulged in adult beverages were a distinct minority who were appropriately removed from the premises when their behavior became boorish. At TPC Scottsdale this Neanderthal behavior is, it seems, encouraged. This is done directly by the PGA Tour, the locals who put the tournament on, and the corporate entities who subsidize so much of the tour now with their hospitality venues.
Well on Sunday this seething cauldron of foolishness got it shoved back in its face when the ever stylish Ian Pouter gave the crowd the international signal for “Go Get Stuffed”. Poulter will take some heat for this but I think he’s more justified in his rebuff to the rowdies than he’ll get credit for from the talking heads and pundits who sup at the table of Prince Tim and the PGA Tour.
The arena that the PGA has built around #16 reminds us of the modern stadia that all modern team sports use to showcase their product. This is the latest manifestation of Tim Finchem’s “penis envy” issue as it relates to other sports, most notably NFL Football and NASCAR. The commish doesn’t seemed satisfied with the game of golf as it’s been played for several centuries, he’d rather turn it into some garish spectacle to help garner additional advertisement revenues generated by increased TV ratings from the casual viewer tuning in because there’s blood in the water. There’s a real downside to the headlong pursuit of riches, or the win, at the expense of integrity and identity. Just ask Al Gore.
I say they should tear down that arena at 16 for starters, sell only near beer or cactus juice, and invite Jack and Arnie to teach the PGA big wigs, staff and then the spectators at 16 some basic etiquette and sportsmanship.
Can you imagine someone booing a shot by Jack?