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Golf Crowds : The Sore Thumb

The image of Phil Mickelson walking up the 18th fairway at Kiawah on his way to win the PGA Championship will be an iconic golf image that will stick with us like Tiger hugging Earl in ’97 or the John Daly / 19th Hole image back in 95.  The best part of Phil’s image? The crowd.  Seeing everyone back gives a certain energy to the tournaments that can’t be supplemented by fake cheers (eh hem, NBA).  

However, there is a behavior that is synonymous with golf fans that should be left in pre-pandemic times: the ‘Get in the Hole Guy’. 

Golf is often knocked for being boring to watch.  I get it, some of the tournaments drag on when there’s no one in the hunt or there’s a runaway leader.  

Ranking right up there with white belts, 'Get in the Hole Guy’ literally adds nothing to any golf event.  It all started with ‘You Da Man’, which was a perfect retort to Daly ripping a bomb back in the early 90s, but now it sounds like something you’d hear from an over excited rushee who’s absolutely not getting a bid.  Calm down, man.  

Since then, there has been a steady growth in both creativity and annoyance, and quite frankly, has gotten out of hand.  Here are some examples:

‘Mashed Potatoes’ – the assumption is that this phrase can be used to encourage the ball to stick, like a spoonful of mashed potatoes.  However, the intent (as has been documented) was totally random.  And totally annoying.

‘Baba Booey’ – A tire Howard Stern reference on the course?  The folks who continue to blast statements like this are just confirmation that you should never give your badges away.

‘Filet Mignon’ – From the ’12 US Open.  Tiger pured a shot, and this came from the crowd.  Creative?  Yes.  Random?  Absolutely.  

Notable exceptions: 16 at the Waste Management.  The putt putt-esque stop on the PGA Tour, there are tens of thousands of well lubricated fans packed into stands and corporate tents surrounding the par-3 hole, all itching to deliver focused feedback.  Players entering the octagon should understand what’s coming, and deal with it.  Embrace it.  Sponsors should get in on the action, too.  Stuff like this makes golf more fun, but it’s become synonymous with Phoenix, therefore it is limited to that one hole.

By no means is this meant to sound like a Tom Watson manifesto (where he complains about everything – in long-form letter format).  Instead, this is encouragement to knock off the shouting.  It’s not an opportunity to get on SportsCenter, but it is scarlet letter that will forever haunt golf crowds.

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