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JT and other golf idiots

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Probably time to get a thread going on the behavior debacles at the end of yesterday's Honda Classic. For those catching up:

  • On 16: reports say that as Justin Thomas was approaching the 16th tee, a fan yelled, "I hope you hit it in the water." Following JT's drive, you can hear a guy yell, "Get in the bunker." The TV audio then picks up JT pointing the guy out in the crowd and implying that he's now going to be kicked out. I have not read either way whether the individual was, in fact, removed from the premises.
  • On 18: immediately after sinking his putt to win in a playoff, JT shouted an obscenity, clearly audible on the telecast, which CBS then inexplicably replayed.

OK, my thoughts. I loathe "mashed potatoes" guy. Golf is to have a level of refinement to it. And this is especially true at the higher levels of the game. Playing nine with your buddies at a local muni? There's room for a level of idiocy (so long as you're not disturbing everyone else). But the decorum of the game is worth preserving. Part of the value of sport, in general, is that it is a way of teaching (and revealing) character.

 

So I'm not going to defend the guy heckling JT.

 

But JT has put himself in a real bind here. He is absolutely contributing to a movement to make golf less rigid, more about a game for the "bros." The social media stuff, his embracing of being the "No Laying Up" poster boy, that kind of thing.

 

Now, in measure, this is fine. Golf is fun, and should be fun, and I like guys who don't take themselves too seriously.

 

But (my impression) JT gets this very backwards. He's allowed to have fun and make golf a joke—you must respect him and be on your best behavior. He can drop f-bombs and toss clubs, but you better not root for his ball to get in the bunker.

 

I can't see this getting better for him in the near future. The more he fights it, the more other idiots are going to hassle him. They now know they can get to him (though, in fairness, he did win the whole thing).

 

So I don't think anyone comes out of this looking good.

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So here is a question, is there a double standard in golf? Yes, golf is supposed to be refined and I guess the fans are supposed to be better than the rest. Is the 16th at the waste management tournament just a one off and fans aren't allowed to cheer against a player? In other sports we cheer for players to miss field goals, drop the ball, get beat up in a fight, etc. in golf we must remain impartial and only respond to the good shots?

 

Yes there is line that should not be crossed but why is golf above rooting against a player so that a persons favorite player finishes higher or helps you win at fantasy golf?

 

I don't necessarily see anything wrong for asking a players ball to finish in the water or bunker. I pull for certain players to miss putts while watching on TV. But as I said above there is a fine line between rooting against and being antagonistic and stepping over the line with certain comments.

 

Just my $.02.

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The PGA Tour as a whole is nothing short of a "money grab".  They will crawl into bed with anyone willing to write a hefty sponsorship check.  The PGA Tour has moved virtually every event to terrible, cookie-cutter, Tour owned TPC courses to further enhance revenues and have greater control over the product it sells to the masses.  They have done a poor job maintaining any modicum of what the game has, for hundreds of years, represented in terms of etiquette, moral fiber and character.  

While I agree with the concept, "two wrongs don't make a right", I don't believe Thomas' reaction to the fan was "wrong".  His outburst after winning the tournament, however, was!

 

Golf has, for generations, set itself apart from other sports by holding itself, and those who participate, to a higher standard.  Therefore, the Tours attempt to make every tournament stop an alcohol induced party like Waste Management invites an element to the game that otherwise wouldn't be present.  This position also gives a sort of "implied consent" that this behavior will be tolerated. 

 

If the Tour would handle tournament operations more like the folks in Augusta, players like Justin Thomas wouldn't feel as though they were forced to "police" the tournaments themselves.  Augusta can be stuffy with an air of entitled superiority, but nobody can argue the fact that they put on the greatest tournament the world has ever known, down to the most microscopic detail.  And fans know this behavior wouldn't be tolerated and rarely test the resolve of the powers that be in Augusta!

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Some of my take on the 16th (at Honda, not Phoenix) does depend on JT's claim that the guy said something to him on the way to the tee box. If JT really wanted the guy kicked out for yelling "get in the bunker" after he already hit his drive, that seems extraordinarily petty. But I would want to draw the line at saying things to a guy (when you know he can hear you; this is often not the case with other sports) to try to get into his head before he hits. That kind of thing, in my estimation, needs to be strongly discouraged.

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The PGA Tour as a whole is nothing short of a "money grab".  They will crawl into bed with anyone willing to write a hefty sponsorship check.  The PGA Tour has moved virtually every event to terrible, cookie-cutter, Tour owned TPC courses to further enhance revenues and have greater control over the product it sells to the masses.  They have done a poor job maintaining any modicum of what the game has, for hundreds of years, represented in terms of etiquette, moral fiber and character.  

 

While I agree with the concept, "two wrongs don't make a right", I don't believe Thomas' reaction to the fan was "wrong".  His outburst after winning the tournament, however, was!

 

Golf has, for generations, set itself apart from other sports by holding itself, and those who participate, to a higher standard.  Therefore, the Tours attempt to make every tournament stop an alcohol induced party like Waste Management invites an element to the game that otherwise wouldn't be present.  This position also gives a sort of "implied consent" that this behavior will be tolerated. 

 

If the Tour would handle tournament operations more like the folks in Augusta, players like Justin Thomas wouldn't feel as though they were forced to "police" the tournaments themselves.  Augusta can be stuffy with an air of entitled superiority, but nobody can argue the fact that they put on the greatest tournament the world has ever known, down to the most microscopic detail.  And fans know this behavior wouldn't be tolerated and rarely test the resolve of the powers that be in Augusta!

 

I don't watch tennis on TV so I don't know if fans heckling individual players are removed?  That would be a similar comparison instead of team sports. 

 

 

I agree 100% with the underlined statement.  I bet the fan who yelled "get in the trap" would have his butt carted to the front gate so fast his head would swim. 

 

 

Some of my take on the 16th (at Honda, not Phoenix) does depend on JT's claim that the guy said something to him on the way to the tee box. If JT really wanted the guy kicked out for yelling "get in the bunker" after he already hit his drive, that seems extraordinarily petty. But I would want to draw the line at saying things to a guy (when you know he can hear you; this is often not the case with other sports) to try to get into his head before he hits. That kind of thing, in my estimation, needs to be strongly discouraged.

 

yea see my comment above about tennis.  Team sports in large stadiums are different than standing near a tee box and hounding a guy trying to make his living and win a tournament in the process. 

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I don't watch tennis on TV so I don't know if fans heckling individual players are removed?  That would be a similar comparison instead of team sports. 

 

 

I agree 100% with the underlined statement.  I bet the fan who yelled "get in the trap" would have his butt carted to the front gate so fast his head would swim. 

 

 

 

yea see my comment above about tennis.  Team sports in large stadiums are different than standing near a tee box and hounding a guy trying to make his living and win a tournament in the process. 

I agree completely.  Golf is more akin to Tennis than team sports.  I couldn't fathom this behavior being tolerated at Wimbledon.  That gets back to the premise of "implied consent".  There is a certain level of implied consent at stadium sports that shouldn't be tolerated at Tennis or Golf tournaments.  Somehow, it has filtered into our game and has gone unchecked for far too long.  If more players start following young Justin's lead, this will stop in short order.

 

A certain level of decorum should be expected!

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I agree completely.  Golf is more akin to Tennis than team sports.  I couldn't fathom this behavior being tolerated at Wimbledon.  That gets back to the premise of "implied consent".  There is a certain level of implied consent at stadium sports that shouldn't be tolerated at Tennis or Golf tournaments.  Somehow, it has filtered into our game and has gone unchecked for far too long.  If more players start following young Justin's lead, this will stop in short order.

 

A certain level of decorum should be expected!

 

Absolutely agree 100%!    

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My favorite topic. Have lots to say about this, not enough time.

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Please excuse me...

 

Just another post and commentary on the coarse society we all live in. It's everywhere and affects everyone in all places. It's not just at football games or basketball or even golf. It's at the grocery store and at kids sporting events and venues. The list is endless. Everywhere you go and look (and you don't have to look very hard) men, women, and children are constantly acting out in one form or another. That might be general rudeness or disrespect for anyone or anything. It's all about them and to hell with what you say or think. These people tell us it's about me and me, and me. And besides, what are you going to do about me anyway?

 

But it's our fault as a society. We've let it become acceptable. You certainly don't want to call out the offending party as they might be offended themselves. How dare you!

 

There used to be unspoken rules of behavior people abided by. The ones that broke them were shunned and called out. Perhaps even removed... ... escorted away. People used to think the ones exhibiting such rude or coarse behavior were perhaps unbalanced or maybe drunk or something. Not anymore. You're the nut-job if you try and stop them or call them out.

 

Until our society decides they had enough (apparently we're not even close) then it will continue. And it will just get worse with each passing year as it already has. I know this because I've witnessed it over the course of my 63 years. For you younger guys take a look around at the way things are now. Then in 30 years ask yourself if it's better. Sadly, I think I know the answer.

Life is about expectation.  Parents don't expect a lot from their children anymore.  At least that's been our experience over the past few years.  Our daughters are expected to do chores without being reminded, asked or told.  We expect a certain level of achievement in the classroom.  And, above all, we expect a certain level of behavior whether in our presence or outside it.  They are also painfully aware, we always know when those expectations aren't met!

 

I firmly believe having expectations for our children produces a sense of self-respect resulting in our children coming to have the same expectations of themselves.  Sadly, as you point out Plaid, this often makes us the "nut-job" within modern society.

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We need to stop comparing Waste Management to other tournaments on the list. The 16th there is literally the only place on tour where being loud at all times is encouraged. It's a spectacle and meant to be unique. That is part of its draw. Which is also part of the reason that a lot of players avoid playing there. Despite how they talk about it, they seem rattled on that hole a lot of the time. 

Fans getting kicked out for inappropriate behavior happens more than I think people realize. It happens every week. Some a-hole gets drunk and says something ill-advised or yells in a players back swing. The player will sometimes say something to the caddy, who then has them removed. Or he'll say something to an official to have them removed. 
This particular occasion just gets the attention because JT called the person out himself and it was going down the stretch Sunday while trying to win a tournament. 

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It seems to me that there may be people that have no life, or if they have a life, its a miserable one.   Perhaps, many have no real accomplishments in their lives and have low self esteem.   To compensate, they feel the need to make or yell stupid statements at a golf tournament in an effort to be noticed.  They just want or need to be noticed, they have no concern regarding the perceptions of their actions, just finally they are noticed.  

 

More to the point, I don't think the professionals in our game deserve such actions as discussed in this thread.   In what other sport are the professionals as appreciative of the fans and fan support or are as accessible to the fans as professional golfers.   

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I'm not going to dive into the hypocrisy and hubris of the great Justin Thomas but will add this missive re: posterity of golf galleries...

 

If you earn an escort off the premises at Augusta National, it's a protracted process handled by a team of Pinkerton guards; effectively a lifetime ban for you (and anyone in your family tree). I've never tasted "mashed potatoes" worth that price and it's the reason nobody dares to serve them up at the Masters.

 

For those who have never attended; running on the premises, improper attire and conspicuous inebriation are also all grounds for immediate removal. They only charge $3 for a beer and yet everyone is on their best behavior. I wonder if it has anything to do with the Masters being run by a different leadership team than the typical PGA Tour stop?

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On Stud's comment about JT's celebration: the only pushback I'd offer here is that there are times when a guy knows all the cameras and mics are on him. Obviously, JT isn't dropping f-bombs when Peter Kostis interviews him after the round; these guys have the ability to switch on the language control when they need to do so. And so when a guy absolutely knows that he's live on air (as when he just made a putt to win a tournament), some level of restraint in language isn't a crazy ask.

 

I get that he's in the moment, riding high on emotion. But count me as skeptical that a guy as media-aware as Thomas is doesn't know exactly what he's doing there.

 

All that said, I agree with your point that what ends up on air is ultimately on CBS, not the golfer, and that missing it once was bad, but then airing an audible replay is quite a failure on their part.

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I'll address the curse first since it's a quickie. I think it's no big deal that he said it. It is, however, a big deal that CBS not only failed to censor it but also replayed the clip unedited. They've got that course mic'd up to the T and should always be on high alert for the need to censor. In that moment, he's alone in front of a loud crowd and expressed raw emotion. Had he said it during the post-round interview? Sure, that's a big deal. But when the players are out there on the field of play, responsibility shifts to the broadcast crew to watch their mouths for them. Have you ever watched a Home Run Derby live? They drop F-bombs left and right and many of them get through.

________________________________________

 

The heckler? I've thought a good bit about this one. It certainly was jarring to hear the exchange live on CBS and I immediately knew it would be a hot topic of debate. After doing a bit of research, I think I'm going to pick JT's side but only just barely.

 

First, the guy yelled at JT on his way to the tee “I hope you hit it in the water!” Then, he yelled after his swing “Get in the bunker!” He didn't yell during the swing so that's (almost) an OK heckle. I'd be willing to bet that wasn't this guy's first heckle of the day. Sixcat is right, the PGA has been promoting this raucous behavior amongst the fans because in their mind fun = money and ratings. You get these fans drunk and the sport becomes more “accessible.” To me, it feels like there's a little bit of Waste Management hangover every year where fans carry the attitude at their 16th for a few tournaments because it seemed to be enjoyed by the players.

 

Next, the guy actually WAS kicked out by tournament staff. Double standard or not, this shows the power that the players have. Golf is a much more intimate sport than anything else out there, even tennis, so you can't really compare the fan interaction. If Tour rules give JT the right to kick a fan out, I feel like he should exercise it if he determines there's cause. When interviewed, he said he would've done the same thing had they yelled at Luke…..just like Rory did for him in LA.

Just. Like. Rory. Did.

Wait? Did anyone talk about Rory kicking out a fan? Don't remember that one making headlines. JT is getting this spotlight because it happened in a big moment coming down the final stretch of a tournament. It's moments like this that help set precedents. Sergio got heckled BAD for years. Maybe they would've cut it out sooner had he taken a harder line against the fans.

 

If it was me, I probably wouldn't have said anything. But I give JT credit for having the cajones to speak out. There's definitely a problem on the tour where the fans are overstepping their rights as spectators and nothing will get better without actions like this. The reason the “patrons” are so well behaved at the Masters is because they know they'll get tossed quickly if they step out of line. Why not apply those same principles to the rest of the circuit as well?

This goes back well before Sergio. Remember Monty, that guy got heckled mercilessly for years and nothing was ever done. The bad thing was he was a really good guy, very polite and very well spoken. He just couldn't win the big ones.

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Charley Hoffman last year after his win was much louder.

 

“ABOUT F**KING TIME”

 

JT isn't the only one with a potty mouth.

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Charley Hoffman last year after his win was much louder.

 

“ABOUT F**KING TIME”

 

JT isn't the only one with a potty mouth.

 

I have heard that when sometimes live events are broadcast, the broadcaster will use what I've heard labelled as a "6 second delay" in order to bleep out potential bad language.   Perhaps, sports broadcasters could do the same.  

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A couple of other big events that the more casual fans watch are the Ryder cup and the Presidents Cup.  For some reason more bad fan behavior comes out than any other golf event including the Waste Management tournament.  Sure the players celebrate more than a normal tournament but that is no excuse to heckle the other team or cheer for bad shots.  

 

As far as JT's cursing after winning he did the same thing on Friday or Saturday after the 4 putt.  Don't know if you could hear it on the air but I sure knew what he was saying.  I am a big JT fan after listening to him on the No Laying Up podcast a couple years ago but he needs to clean up his act if he is going to get fans ejected.  When it comes to cursing on the course I am guilty as charged but my playing partners are not offended so it is all in good fun.  

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