Golf is a gentlemen’s sport, at least it is every year until either the Ryder Cup or Presidents Cup rolls around and then golf becomes a team sport just like football. With that comes raucous crowds who drink from sun up to sun down and boo when opposing players not only screw up, but also when they do well.
Daniel Berger’s comments show just how intoxicating making golf a team sport can be.
— Tweeter Alliss (@TweeterAlliss) September 30, 2017
During the Ryder Cup last year we saw Patrick Reed and Rory McIlroy put on a display of showmanship and crowd taunting that was thoroughly enjoyed by fans and the golfers on the course, yet the atmosphere this year at the Presidents Cup didn’t sit well with PGA Tour winner Marc Leishman’s wife, who wrote a long letter explaining exactly why.
“There were many times last week that I thought about what the kids were seeing,” Leishman wrote. “The crowds were booing for good shots and cheering for missed putts. The drinking at 7am? Screaming ‘Big Easy’ to Ernie Els and begging for his autograph and then yelling at his players. Heckling a wife for her beauty and then her husband for his play. I was thankful my boys weren’t there to see the way people were treating their daddy. Their hero.”
Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but that’s team sports for you. They’re very competitive at a professional level and the fans rally to show support for their team. Do fans cross the line? Hell yes they do. Throwing insults at someone’s wife is uncalled for, but yelling, “Get in the water” after a tee shot is just good fun.
No true golf fan wishes ill will on any player, but there is only once a year when fans can cheer against a player that they normally cheer for all season long.
When Leishman won the Arnold Palmer Invitational or the BMW Championship this year there was no one booing him or yelling insults at him; fans were cheering for him. Golf fans will cheer for anyone, and that’s part of what makes them and the sport so special.
“Golf is truly a gentleman’s sport,” Leishman wrote. “But last week was not the golf I know.”
That statement is true for every tournament except for two, and during those two tournaments, the gloves are off. If you don’t like the atmosphere, don’t attend.