PGA Tour fans quickly becoming golf's biggest problem

The Scoop

Rory McIlroy is the latest to hit out as the relationship between players and fans continues to disintegrate, writes Alex Perry

You may remember at the Honda Classic a couple of weeks ago when Justin Thomas had a spectator slung out for some deplorable behaviour.

Well, the ever-increasing breakdown in relationship between PGA Tour pros and the fans has taken another step in the wrong direction after Rory McIlroy complained about some behaviour in the galleries on Saturday afternoon at the Arnold Palmer Invitational.

“There was one guy out there who kept yelling my wife’s name,” McIlroy told reporters at Bay Hill.

Just think about that for a moment. An actual adult, for goodness sake, who can think of nothing funnier or cleverer than screaming a golfer’s wife’s name at him while he plays a shot.

McIlroy said he had thought about “going over to have a chat with him”. I’m pleased he didn’t, to be honest. The guy would have probably loved his little minute in the spotlight. The best thing McIlroy could have done in that situation is have a quiet word with a steward to boot him out.

“I think it’s gotten a little much, to be honest,” McIlroy added. “I think that they need to limit alcohol sales on the course, or they need to do something because every week, it seems like guys are complaining about it more and more.”

Tiger Woods also had his say on the matter: “They can be raucous. They are having a great time. It’s fun. They are having a blast, and hopefully we can execute golf shots, but as long as they don’t yell on our golf swings, everything’s cool.”

The problem, they are yelling on golf swings. While the “Get in the hole!” and “Mashed potato!” brigade might also be actual grown men completely devoid of wit and imagination – they are merely an irritant.

This new generation of golf fan, if you will, has decided to up the ante.

I’ve often been baffled by the bile spilled from the mouths of fans at football matches, and I almost understand it, but this kind of behaviour can’t be tolerated at a golf event.

The PGA Tour has a huge problem here, and it needs addressing quickly.

Miller time

McIlroy was also getting heckled from the commentary box on Saturday, where Johnny Miller was mumbling something about how the four-time major champion would be a better player if he stayed out of the gym, just as the footage shows McIlroy knocking it within gimme range from 238 yards…

Gold.

Pro golfers are just like us…

Elsewhere at the API, Justin Rose, starting on the 10th hole on Thursday, carded a triple-bogey seven on 11 before doing this on 12…

He salvaged par then bogeyed 15 to find himself 4-over through six.

…except they’re not really, are they?

Rose then birdied seven of his final 12 holes to finish the day 3-under par thanks to the most unlikely of 69s. He went on to finish on 14-under and 3rd place behind McIlroy and Bryson DeChambeau.

Prepare for The Masters in style

Rose is, quite rightly, one of the favourites for the Masters title next month. After missing the 2010 edition he’s finished T11, T8, T25, T14, T2, T10 and 2nd.

He played a big part in last year’s final round at Augusta, going toe-to-toe with Sergio Garcia down the stretch in a pulsating finish that had the whole world on the edge of its seat.

And now you can listen to the broadcast from that and every other final round at Augusta since 1968 on the Masters’ YouTube channel.

I haven’t done the maths to the second, but there is more than 150 hours of footage there.

If you’re wondering, you need to watch about eight and a half hours a days from now to squeeze it all in before the 82nd edition of golf’s first major gets underway.

Aussie rules

I’m just back from a little jaunt to the other side of the world. I didn’t have time to play any golf while I was in Australia, unfortunately, though I did spot this on Manly Beach in Sydney…

You know you’ve been in this game too long when the first thing you notice is the poor posture.

I also spent a couple of days in Melbourne, home of the country’s National Sports Museum at the MCG, which was so big it took me about three hours to get round.

Imagine my surprise, then, that this was the entire offering on golf…

Golf at Australia's National Sports Museum

Only four countries in the men’s game – the US, Scotland, England and South Africa – and three countries in the women’s game – the US, South Korea and Sweden – have produced more major champions than our cousins Down Under, so I was a bit taken aback.

Honestly, my wardrobe is bigger. And that’s not the Green Jacket. But there is a small statue of Greg Norman, so.

In all seriousness, it’s a beautiful country and I can’t wait to go back. Next time, the sticks are going with me…

Slam plug

I wasn’t going to record an episode of The Slam last week having only got off the plane a few hours before, but got to make the most of this tan.

I discussed the latest instalment of Sergio Garcia’s on-off relationship with Augusta, why the 1st tee at this year’s Ryder Cup will be like no other, and daydreamed of a Tiger Woods-Rory McIlroy showdown at The Masters.

You can watch The Slam here, but come back because I’ve got plenty more here.

The most painful of 60s

This doesn’t need any additional information from me…

We’ve all been there, Wesley. Except, you know, with a putt for 79, not 59.

Romo on the run

You may have seen former Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo is playing the Corales Puntacana Championship on the PGA Tour this week.

I’ve already had my say on this, but suddenly it’s got more interesting…

He won’t win, but it’s fun to think of the fallout if he did.

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