Alright. Where is it? It's been a long time since I last used it, but I think it's over in this corner of my garage. Ah. Here you are. Now to wipe the dust off. Wow, it sure is dirty. I forgot how long it's been since I've had this out.
Here we go. That thump you just heard was me setting down my soapbox. I warned you all years ago not to make me pull it out again, but the time has come. Listen up everyone!
The part of our great game that entertains us is in danger. I'm talking about professional tournaments. The PGA Tour is especially in serious danger. We have a new breed of fan in our sport and the time has come to show him the proper way to conduct himself.
There was a time when polite fans shouted words of encouragement to their favorite players, wanting to show them their support and give them a lift.
These new fans have turned into (jerks). I have a better term, but I think I'd best stick to something printable. It's bad enough when someone at the tee of a 600-yard par-5 feels the need to yell, "Get in the hole!" after a golfer hits his tee shot. Now we have to deal with these clowns yelling nonsensical things like "mashed potato" or "Baba Booey" or "biscuits and gravy."
We all know this is done simply to draw attention to themselves. They want to then go home, watch the taped broadcast, and see how many times they were "on television" or to brag to their buddies, "Did you hear me yell 'Perkins' when Tiger teed off on 14?"
The problem is growing and the act is wearing thin with most of the pros and fans. While yelling anything when the player is not in his swing may not affect him, the competition between the (jerks) to be the first to yell, pushes them to shout as close as possible to when the club makes impact.
It's not a matter of time before they shout during someone's swing, it's already happening. Ian Poulter's swing was interrupted at the Barclay's last week, and the fan was ejected.
This sad behavior reached a pinnacle at the PGA Championship a few weeks back. On every hole you had one or more idiots all trying to out-shout one another. I guess simple minds are entertained by simple things.
Personally, I would be very tempted to accidentally elbow the offender in the throat if it were my ear he decided to shout into. Sorry, but I didn't pay for my ticket to hear you holler after every swing.
What is being forgotten here is that the golfers are the entertainment. Ninety-nine percent of us came here to watch and enjoy their play. Not hear someone in the gallery shouting stupidities.
The PGA Tour says that it does not interfere with play and therefore it cannot send these people packing. I disagree. It interferes with the enjoyment of the tournament for 99 percent of your customers. I've even started watching the PGA Tour with the sound muted on my television.
If their yelling and shouting isn't interfering with play, why then are the customers checking their phones and text messages threatened with expulsion? My phone is on silent, and the golfers are 150 yards away, but I cannot pull my phone from my pocket to see if I have missed a call, gotten a text, or to check the on-line scoring to see what the leaderboard looks like without being told that if I pull out my phone again anywhere but in a designated area, I will be told to leave. Somehow my actions are much more egregious.
The real problem is going to come when these shouters begin to sell their yelling to companies. Don't laugh, it's coming. Television commercial time is expensive. For a couple thousand dollars you can pay someone to shout the name of your product all day long while following the top players around. Exposure at the event as well as on television for a mere fraction of the cost of one 30-second ad.
The best way to put a stop to this childish behavior is to toss the offenders out. If the Tour doesn't want to do that, then those of us who don't wish to listen to them need to stop going and the players themselves need to tell the Tour that they will not play if it isn't stopped. How much money will an event lose if Tiger, Phil and Rory don't play?
I'm done with my rant. I'll put my soapbox away. Please see to it that it stays in that corner of my garage for a very long time.
James Stammer has been an avid golfer and golf enthusiast for nearly 40 years. He hosts the Thursday Night Golf Show on WSTU 1450-AM. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.