PGA to Allow Spectators to Use Cell Phones
By mustang6560 on 2/15/11
If you've ever been to a PGA Tour event, you know how strict they are about cell phone use. I went to the Viking Classic last fall, which is a fall series event, and even there the policy was ALL mobile devices were to be left in your car.

But, in almost a landmark decision (almost), the PGA decided they are going to allow fans to carry cell phone in the gallery.
The PGA TOUR announced Tuesday a mobile device policy that will allow fans at TOUR events to carry mobile devices and use them in select areas on the golf course.

The Honda Classic, scheduled for Feb. 28-March 6 at PGA National in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., will be the first event for which the mobile device policy will be implemented as an enhancement to the overall fan experience.
I understand what the PGA Tour is trying to do (enhance the overall fan experience), but I think they are opening pandora's box. Can you imagine what Tiger Woods would do if a cell phone vibrated or rang in his backswing? I watched him in Dubai last weekend and he was telling the photographers to not take a picture at the top of his swing because the "click" sound was distracting.

In their statement, they said that fans will only be able to use their mobile devices in certain areas and they won't be able to take pictures or shoot videos. Yeah right! How is the PGA going to enforce that? With probably a 100 to 1 ratio of fans to event staff and volunteers, how effective is that going to be?

And what happens if someone forgets to turn off the ringer on their phone and it goes off? Is that fan tossed from the course? How are fans going to feel about being tossed from a golf event?

I just think controlling the use of cell phones is too in-effective to make it worth allowing them at tour events. I hope AT LEAST they don't allow them at majors. I would hate to see someone coming down the stretch on 18 to win the event only to have someone's phone ring during their approach shot, which causes a miss hit. Anyone remember Steve Bartman? He's the Chicago Cubs fan who got in the way of Moises Alou from catching a potential out during the 2003 MLB playoffs (Cubs ended up losing that game and the series). You can read more about that HERE.

We don't need fans negatively impacting the game. There is no good I see coming from this. I don't think more fans will come out to support professional golf because they are allowed to bring their cell phones to a tournament.

Golf is a quite sport and it should remain so.

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[ comments ]
Banker85 says:
cubs lost that series because they are the cubs... c'mon now.

If people respectfully use their cell phones i have no problem but the fact is there will always be a couple(probably many) jackasses out there with ringers going off, taking pic, and vids. You are right the enforcement is going to be tough. I am sure we will have another post on this after the tournament. They probably will let you use your cell phone in a tented off area away from the action.... and beat you if they see it anywhere else!
Ben Crane says:
I attend a church where our pastor will politely request at the beginning of every service to please turn off your cell phones. Yet at every service there is always a cell phone or two going off in the middle of his message.
My point is simply requesting people behave in a responsible manner with their phones isn't going to be sufficient.
shorne says:
If they do it they should take a hint form the Japan tours. Over there they get the pro's to make tv-spots asking for people to be polite and not make noise or use cell phones during the round. They dont have too many problems in Japan and cell phones are allowed.

Womens Tour
mjaber says:
I think it's up to the fans to police themselves, and each other. If you go with a few friends, as you walk through the gate mention that they should turn of their phones. Say it loud enough so everyone can hear you. You'll be amazed at how many people will check their phones.

Any violations of the rule should result in ejection. It's a simple rule, and easily followed. If you can't follow it, leave the phone in the car, or watch the tournament on TV.
Kurt the Knife says:
dis is gonna get ugly.
bkuehn1952 says:
I have to agree with Ben and KtK. There is always going to be someone who didn't get the memo and sooner or later there will be a high profile incident.
wrhall02 says:
Impossible to enforce fan behavior. Bad "call" PGA.
falcon50driver says:
When you outlaw cellphones, then only the criminals will have cellphones. Cellphones don't call people, People call people. Perhaps there should be a background check before a person could buy a cellphone so that only responsible people could purchase one.
lcgolfer64 says:
Did you hang out with KtK this weekend??

You've been on fire lately! haha....
birdieXris says:
ROFL @ Merlin.

I'm on the side of ejection myself. It's a very simple task to put the phones on "silent" and not "vibrate". I think if people do that things will be fine. If they can't be bothered to make sure their phone isn't going to ruin the round for someone and it goes off, it should be immediate ejection. no second chances. A precedent must be established early on that it's a privilege and not a right to have a cell phone on the course. I do, however, think photos should be allowed, i mean... really... a cell phone picture? come on now, it's not the greatest quality, even the good ones!
ppinkert says:
dose that include butt dialing?

I mean if a phone rang in the woods and no one was there to hear it would it go to voice mail?

Bad idea PGA... It's just a Tweet scandle looking for a place to happen.
kingwood hacker says:
they need to allow phones. Do you think that CEO's who's companies pay for these tournaments are going to go without their blackberry for 4 days?
Not to mention all of the social media marketing that the tour does. Last year I followed the Shell Houston Open twitter feed and on Saturday they were asking if anyone was at the 15th hole or something. How could you know that if you weren't allowed to have a cell phone to see the twitter feed in the first place? I went to the tournament on Sunday, and they told you no less than 5 times before you got to the gate that you can't take your cell phone in, and if it goes off inside they gate, it will be confiscated. I say do the same thing with having it silent. Let people know ahead of time that it will confiscated. And then do it. Tell people at the gate how many phones were confiscated at last weeks tournament. If you tell me that you're going to take my $200 iPhone, and that you took 35 of them last week, I'm going to make sure it's on silent.
sjduffers says:
I was at Pebble Beach for the ATT Pro-Am last week, and phones were allowed, under the same terms as those generally adopted now by the PGA. I only saw one person use their phone in a non-authorized manner during the whole day: it was my wife, lol! Of course, you could (and should) argue that ATT being the main sponsor and one of the largest wireless providers has something to gain by allowing phones (there were some huge ATT tents where you could call)...

It's a welcome change, one that allows spectators to use the data portion of their phone service to keep up with the tournament, much better than the rare scoreboards along the course.
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