Golf lacks fan element to increase crowd

Published 12:00 am Saturday, July 3, 2004

Where's Happy Gilmore when you need him?

Golf is a gentleman's game, even if the golfer isn't a gentleman at times. In the past few years, the game's biggest name - Tiger Woods - has struggled with his game more than once. This frustration has led to slamming clubs and profanity.

Anyone who has golfed can understand such behavior if not experienced it themselves. But Woods seems to be annoyed by everything these days including the click of photographer's camera.

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Maybe Woods fired Butch Harmon as his coach because Harmon lacked that pro wrestling mentality needed to survive on the PGA tour.

Enter caddy Steve Williams.

Williams is to Woods what Steve is to Jerry Springer. If a treacherous photographer unleashes an unnerving click from his or her camera, Williams slides down his bat pole and becomes Super Snatcher and takes the camera away.

If the click comes at a more inopportune time, Williams has been known to kick the camera out of the photographer's hand like he did on the 10th tee at the U.S. Open a few weeks ago.

It might be against the rules to take photos at certain times because it ruins the golfer's concentration, but I'm somewhat disturbed by the violent reaction.

A few years ago, Tribune photographer Kent Sanborn was taking pictures at The Memorial. Kent was standing idle since no photos are allowed to be taking when the golfer is swinging. However, a women near him laughed and Vijah Singh complained.

A security policeman questioned Kent about having a camera, but since Kent had a media pass the situation was eventually rectified.

Poor golfers. Someone made a noise.

If golfers on the PGA tour had to deal with the same type of vocal crowds as other sports such as football, basketball and baseball, imagine what kind of verbal exchange that would create, not to mention the increase viewing audience.

Here's a sample:

Fan: We want a tee shot, and not a glass of Lipton.

Golfer: Let's see you keep it in the fairway.

Fan: Why, you trying to learn how?

Golfer: I bet you've never broke par.

Fan: Then I guess I've qualified for the tour along with you.

Golfer: I'd like to see you try and read a putt.

Fan: You mean on the green or in that "Dick & Jane at the Golf Course" book you're always reading?

Golfer: Officer, get rid of this guy. I can't concentrate.

Policeman: You can't golf, either.

Golfer: Am I going to have to orchestrate security?

Policeman: An orchestra is the only thing you might be able to pla in.

Golfer: I don't need this.

Policeman: Funny, that's what the tour says about you.

Now, that's a tournament I want to watch.

Jim Walker is sports editor of The Ironton Tribune.