We all knew this was going to happen. Well I did at least. Last season when the PGA TOUR released their new policy allowing cell phones at events, I had a feeling it was a recipe for disaster. I agreed with the decision, but feared that there were always going to be “those people” in the crowd that ruined it for everyone else. In just the past few weeks we’ve seen multiple occurrences with camera phones going off in the middle of players’ swings, and the players haven’t been shy about calling it out. Phil Mickelson went as far as to text Commissioner Tim Finchem from the fairway about it. He then withdrew from the tournament citing “Mental Fatigue” (aka – I can’t take these idiots using their camera phones).
These issues seem to be more prevalent with marquee groupings. That day featured Mickelson, Bubba Watson, and Rickie Fowler. Three of the games biggest stars, and surely gather the biggest crowds. With the pairings just released for next week’s U.S. Open it seems we could certainly have similar happenings. One group features Mickelson, Watson, and Tiger Woods. I’m sure smoke will be coming out of many a cell phone following that group.
I see both sides of the coin though. As a spectator it’s great to have access to a cell phone if needed. One should not abuse it and only use it in the designated areas. A few years ago I had to fore-go attending an event because my wife was due to give birth to our daughter in a few weeks and I’d be unreachable. Allowing fans to bring their cell phones in to events has also boosted attendance at events. On the flip side, we have the select few morons who decide to play Ansel Adams in the middle of a players swing.
According to Tim Finchem though, this policy is here to stay. Finchem recently told Bloomberg News, “We’re committed to making it work. If we get to a point where we don’t have an acceptable competitive environment, we’ll do whatever we need to do, but I don’t see that happening.” So no changes on the horizon so far.
What’s your opinion though? Do you think the PGA TOUR should re-ban cell phones?