Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Will Allowing Phones At G'boro Be A Bad Call?

When marshals ask for silence at the Wyndham Championship next month at Sedgefield Country Club in Greensboro, they're not going to be talking just to the spectators.

They're going to be talking to their cell phones, too.

In an experiment that has the potential to backfire, the Wyndham Championship will allow spectators to bring their cell phones to the tournament every day provided they keep the ringers turned off, they don't use the camera function Thursday through Sunday and they only talk on the phones in designated areas away from play.

Cell phones and golf tournaments have traditionally been a bad match. Ringers tend to go off at the wrong time or chatterboxes who snuck their phone in wind up with their conversation drifting over to a green where someone's trying to do their work.

The best golf tournament/cell phone policy has been something close to what they have at the Masters: Don't even think about it.

But officials at the Wyndham Championship, with the blessing of the tour, are going to see if they can play a tournament with any number of smart phones vibrating in the pockets of the spectators. Good luck.

In theory, it should work.

"People are going to sneak them in anyway," defending Wyndham champion Ryan Moore said Tuesday. "It's adults. If you let people bring them out there, they'll probably respect the fact you did and they'll probably use those (designated) areas."

That's the rationale of tournament director Mark Brazil, who has a good feel for what works at tournaments.

"I'm confident we'll be fine with this," Brazil said.

Most fans will be good with it, though, truth be told, most fans won't need to have their phones with them. They've become so much a part of us now that going someplace without our phone feels like leaving home without your pants.

The tricky part will be corraling the few people who will believe that just because they've been allowed to bring their phone to the tournament, they're free to do party planning along the 14th fairway or 6th tee.

Calling a friend to bring you a beer to the 8th green is not what tournament officials have in mind.

It's an experiment that will be watched closely.

But not by the folks who run the Masters.

3 comments:

Kevin said...

I think it is a fantastic idea. My brother works on the sponsorship side of a different PGA Tour event and the cell phone issue is huge. It is difficult to entertain busy clients on Thursday and Friday if they can't bring their phones. Also, the tour prides itself on going interactive, which is great. They give us all the information we could ask for via phone and computer......unless you are actually at the event. It is funny that I can sit in my office 500 miles away from the action and know that the putt Ryan Moore is about to hit is 5 feet 8 inches long, but if I were next to the green I'd be left guessing.

A good number of people simply can't be without their phones because of work and our personal lives have been geared toward phone carrying. To tell a wife or husband that they have to deal with the kids while you are phoneless for 8 to 10 hours simply doesn't fly in many households.

I went to the US Open for the Friday round in 09. A bunch of friends were getting together from different parts of the country. One guy was able to leave the office but simply couldn't attend unless he had his blackberry with him. It would have been a shame for him to miss an annual (if we are lucky) get together because some idiots can't turn off their ringer. As it turned out, he was forced to sneak his blackberry in (and he was successful).

The tour needs to get with the times and allow cell phones at all events. The players play for huge money and quite frankly should be forced to deal with some inconvenience in order to appease their fans. The fans should also have the expecation to be respectful of the players. I applaud Mr. Brazil for getting this done.

Anonymous said...

Give me a break. I'm sick of the whole spoiled pro-golf mentality. A pitcher going for a no-hitter on the road with two outs in the ninth isn't going to get silence from the crowd to accomplish this feat. One second left and a free throw needed to win or tie...no chance of silence or lack of distraction. Play through it, and quit whining "I heard a camera click."

Cedar Posts said...

Ron,

Let's face the facts cell phones are at all the tournaments including the Masters.

Yes I'm guilty of that, but I'm also considerate and know how to work my phone.

Some people however don't know how to put their phone on silent or how to have a short private conversation, around the backside of the porta johns.

The real issue for you would be, guys like me a (insert expletive) blogger, tweeting the play by play.