The Big Mac Blog

PGA should lighten up for its fans

Golf fans are continually told to shush at PGA events and its time to loosen up.
Golf fans are continually told to shush at PGA events and its time to loosen up. Star-Telegram

The PGA’s annual stop has come and gone from Fort Worth and Colonial ... sorry, the Dean and DeLuca Invitational. Jordan Spieth’s run to that horrid plaid jacket was a success and resulted in the TV ratings for the tournament in 11 years.

The event was a big win for everybody involved but the PGA needs to re-address what is kosher behavior from its customers at a tournament.

Every sport is desperate to attract the younger crowd as their buying habits are forming and today would be a good time for the PGA to let down the ropes and allow its ticket-paying fans to cheer. Whenever it wants. Embrace the Happy Gilmore way of watching golf:

“C’mon - let’s make a little noise here!”

Golf is inherently a stiff sport and for decades its quiet nature and rigid attitude towards fan etiquette did not matter. It is tradition for fans to be quiet, and almost completely still, until the golfer’s swing is complete. Concentration trumps all.


Can these guys not concentrate with fans cheering? Yes they can, they just don’t have to.

Walking around the Colonial course over the weekend and the amount of “shushing” from volunteers to the fans to ensure the golfers silence was disconcerting. It is counter to tell someone to be quiet during a sporting event. Obnoxious is one thing, but cheering should always be welcome.

A PGA event is a sporting event. Tennis is no different in that fans are regularly shamed should they commit the sin of coughing during a serve.

The top heads in golf should pick one event and try it - let the fans cheer throughout 18 holes and see what happens. It could increase fan participation in a sport where far too many patrons are comfortable drinking and chit chatting without actually watching a single tee shot, chip or putt.

While I am on the subject of fixing the world, the PGA should stop deterring fans from using their phones to take pictures of their favorite golfers.

During the Dean and DeLuca Invitational, fans were actively told NOT to take pictures of the golfers at any point. No one was confiscating phones but this is another annoyance to fans who are well aware they are being gouged to attend the day’s round.

Social media is a way of guerrilla marketing and the PGA is losing out on potentially reaching a larger audience from fans who display their days photos from a fun afternoon of watching golf.

Long ago, rock concerts would put on the ticket of a show “No cameras or recording devices” to deter an amateur from stealing the sights and sounds of the night.

To ask a concert goer these days not to use their phone to film Taylor Swift or Adele during one of their shows is preposterous. When concert promoters gave up on this issue, everybody else should, too.

Allowing the fans to cheer at all times, or to take a few pictures of Jordan Spieth or Ryan Palmer, during a tournament is not going to turn the sport’s struggle to increase participation or viewership. It would just make a day of watching golf a little bit more fun.