Golfers having bad tempers is not a new fad. We get it, the game is utterly infuriating and it was British nobility, His Royal Highness King George V who once said: “Golf makes me so damned angry”. Sir, you were so correct and truer words have never been spoken. But legends of our game, the professionals that many of us look up to were no exception.
Tommy Bolt was known for his bad temper. The man who inspired me to take up the game (Mr. Palmer) was notorious for coloring the air “blue” around him. Although, he wasn’t excessive about it where an entire golf course and surrounding counties could hear him. John Daly, yes he had a pretty bad temper too and he’s had his moments. It makes me wonder if the Dali Lama himself uttered a few cuss words during his round with Carl Spackler. The reality is, outbursts have long been around the game.
There’s a difference though between now and then. PGA TOUR, European Tour, and LPGA TOUR players now have a lot more cameras around them during tournaments. Not to mention of course, that everyone and their uncle has a cell phone on them at all times. Much like regular news, social media and cell phones have made catching the next news story more plausible and easier than ever.
I’ve always said that if you want to be a celebrity or a professional athlete you need to be prepared to have your life examined under a microscope. It’s the price of fame and fortune. The current crop of PGA TOUR players is no exception. I won’t beat the “dead horse” Sergio Garcia because he’s been doing his thing for what seems like an eternity now. But we’ve seen Rory toss his clubs, and Tiger Woods, of course, is definitely not null and void from this conversation. Heck, even as recently Bryson DeChambeau damaged the course and then he was caught again this week at the WGC – Mexico Championship damaging a green. I like Dechambeau but this sours me on him more than the Kuchar nonsense. It just seems like the anger and outbursts are reaching a near epidemic.
Guys taking out their piss poor shots that they made on the greens, bunkers, and fairways. Seriously, for all of the TOUR professionals that take part in this crap just STOP!! Honestly, the ones partaking in this behavior you’re ALL acting like a bunch of entitled, spoiled little brats. Primadonnas. It isn’t you who stands out in the sun making sure that there isn’t a blade of grass out of place week in and week out during your jet-setting stops around the world. It’s the Superintendent or more specifically the guys and girls that work under him or her. For the most part, you guys and gals are guests playing a course that has to be shut down for a period of time. Let’s not lose sight of that. Oh yeah! One other thing. Take a look around you! The people in the galleries who buy a ticket to stand or sit in the gallery and clamber at an event for a selfie, autograph, golf ball or a glove. Sometimes, they just want to catch a quick glimpse of their favorite player. But likely, more importantly, they’d rather be the ones in your shoes playing that course or be the one “inside the ropes”.
As much as I’m going to point my finger at the player’s themselves to exhibit a little more self-control I’m going to point my fingers at the respective commissioners. Jay Monahan (PGA TOUR), Keith Pelley (European PGA TOUR) and Michael Whan (LPGA TOUR) the onus is on you to get a control on your players. I love the fact that the three of you are forward-thinkers with great new ideas and you are doing some great things. But you have a problem. Your players are making it ever increasingly difficult to watch golf. This coming from an individual who breathes and lives golf and writes about it for nary any sort of remuneration. Quite honestly, I’m not necessarily talking about issuing fines because what’s a fine to a player with a bankroll of millions of dollars. I’m talking something more punitive. Penalty strokes or perhaps a little more of enforcing Rule 1.2A (Serious Misconduct). What’s the difference between a TOUR player intentionally damaging a fairway, bunker or green (no I’m not talking about divots as the result of an actual stroke) or an adolescent getting caught spray-painting graffiti on a building? There isn’t! No… Wait there is. The adolescent has to atone for their actions and sometimes it may involve them cleaning it up.
Huh?! There’s an idea, make these guys go out and do some grunt work. He or she who ruins must repair. Get out there and spend time getting your hands dirty. It’s respect and accepting responsibility for one’s actions. Maybe then they’ll just stop… FFS!
**** Commissioners. I nearly forgot. My recommendation for fixing another epidemic. Slow Play. Just start giving two-strokes to an entire group with no opportunity to appeal after the round. The players will govern themselves. Your players are the ones hurting the game. Who the Hell wants to watch 6-7 hour rounds? I played in Mini-Tour events that went like that and it destroys the game in both a literal and figurative sense.
Until The Next Tee!!