Quiet Please! Golfers At Work


There are some things about sports I just don't understand.

While thumbing through a Phoenix Open golf program, I came across a list of rules for fans.

According to the regulations, in watching a tournament spectators are to "stay quiet and stand still when players are about to hit the ball."

Spectators also are asked not to distract or embarrass players and not to make any inappropriate comments or gestures towards players. Rules dictate fans should not boo or cheer at inappropriate times.

The professional golf players we are talking about in the Phoenix Open are 20 and 30-year-old pampered millionaires who have probably been playing the game since they were old enough to swing a club.

On the flip side of spectator behavior -- at high school and college basketball games -- fans are expected, and encouraged, to romp, stomp, yell and scream at every play.

And the players in these sporting events are not highly paid professionals. Rather, they are wide-eyed teenagers just out of puberty.

Let's see, a 17-year-old can go to the free throw line with only a few ticks remaining on the clock, the outcome of the game on the line and opposing fans doing everything they can possibly do to rattle the teen.

And despite the pressure, he or she is expected to sink the crucial shot.

But a pro golfer can't tee off if someone is talking?

What's with that?

Basketball coaches even employ disruptive techniques by calling time outs to "ice" a player who is about to shoot a possible game-winning free throw.

It's not unusual on college campuses for schools to sit their students behind baskets where they can best disrupt opponent's concentration.

Take in a high school or college game and you'll witness all types of creative techniques the students have for supporting their players and giving their school the home field advantage. Signs, banners, deafening noise, skits and schemes are all part of the prep basketball experience.

Try some of that same stratagem on the golf course, and a tournament marshall will soon be escorting you out the gate.

In our sports society, fledgling teen-age basketball players are called upon to churn out their best efforts in the most unfriendly of environments.

But a professional golfer doesn't want anyone moving while he's trying to sink a putt?

Like I said, I just don't understand.

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