Tuesday, February 28

Are Golf Spectators Becoming Too Rowdy?


Bubba at the noisy 16th hole in 2014.

THERE WAS TROUBLE ON THE 17TH hole at the Honda Classic, according to at least two PGA Tour players, Billy Horschel and Sergio Garcia.

This wasn't the Waste Management Phoenix Open, where mammoth crowds and a raucous atmosphere on the 16th hole are part of the deal, both expected and even celebrated. But what if this becomes the norm on the PGA Tour?

Billy Horschel talked to GolfChannel.com about his Honda concerns.

"I said to myself, this isn't Scottsdale. This is ridiculous."

Apparently heckled all week, Sergio Garcia also shared his thoughts.

"Imagine if you're trying to write an article and somebody's shouting things that aren't very nice in your ears?" he told GolfChannel.com. "How would that make you feel?

"The Honda Classic is a great tournament. I love the tournament, and I love the golf course. I think it's an amazing golf course, but it is what it is. Unfortunately, this happens a lot of weeks now in the United States. You have to deal with it the best way possible."

Honda Classic executive director Ken Kennerly added three police officers, making a total of eight, to the 17th hole after hearing player complaints. Kennerly also increased the number of marshals, but perhaps (as Garcia also noted) it doesn't make a lot of difference if alcohol is flowing and the golf setting has turned into a party atmosphere.

My hunch is that this will continue to be a problem at more and more events.

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