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19th Hole

Marc Leishman’s wife blasted Team USA fans. Does she have a point?

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Marc Leishman’s wife, Audrey, has maintained a blog since nearly dying from sepsis in 2015. A quick scan of the site reveals her to be an good, insightful, reflective writer.

The blog, PSdontusetampons.com, is largely a vehicle to bring awareness to the risk of Toxic Shock Syndrome and share Leishman’s near-death experience two years ago and what she’s learned since.

And if you think there’s something funny about/don’t understand her blog title, then you need to read beyond her post about the Presidents Cup.

Now, the article that’s placed Mrs. Leishman front and center in the golf media sphere: “This is not the Tour I know,” posted October 3.

In breaking down what Audrey Leishman had to say, we have to do a few things.

  1. Acknowledge her use of Daniel Berger’s quote to frame fan behavior doesn’t necessarily reflect her attitude toward the American team, and was really not the best stylistic choice.
  2. Acknowledge we don’t know 99 percent of what was said to her, to her husband, or to anyone else on the International team.
  3. Acknowledge Audrey is an American and she and Marc live in Virginia.

Here’s the Daniel Berger quote Audrey begins with.

“I mean, the goal from the minute we got out here was to just crush them as bad as we can and … I hope we close them out today and we got out tomorrow and beat them even worse.”

She then writes, “The fans felt the same way. I wonder why when that’s what they witnessed.”

Now, comparing boorish fan behavior to the desire to step on your opponent’s throat is not a good look. Competitors are supposed to compete and compete hard. Stay within the rules, yes, but do everything you can to beat your opponent as badly as possible. Surely, that isn’t problematic for someone married to a professional golfer?

The Berger quote is ill-applied and really only serves to undermine the rest of what she has to say. So, let’s throw it out and look at the meat of Leishman’s piece, which deals with U.S. fan behavior.

“There were many times last week that I thought about what the kids were seeing,” she wrote. “The crowds booing for good shots and cheering for missed putts. The drinking at 7 am? 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. My parents could simply turn the television off.”

Again, we don’t know the full extent of what was said to Audrey, to Marc, or what she overheard. It has to be said, however, that the offenses she chose to write about are incredibly minor by sporting event standards.

“Someone yelled “Blooming Onion!” to Marc. Check yourself and your facts because that’s not Australian in the least. Another yelled, “avocado!” at him. I feel sorry for you because if you don’t understand how delicious an avocado is, then you are living a sad, sad life. “You eat cereal with a fork!” Oh friend, maybe that’s actually you who does that, because how would you even think to say that? I understand that this was not every fan.”

Here’s the simplest take on Leishman’s complaints: the Ryder and Presidents Cups are not golf tournaments. They are sporting events. There’s more similarity in fan behavior at a New York Rangers game and the Presidents Cup contested just across the Hudson in New Jersey than the Northern Trust, which was contested in the same area earlier this year.

It’s tough to make an argument in favor of body snarking and other below-the-belt fan comments. That said, it is, and has been, a reality a sporting events around the world for as long as I’ve been alive.

Should the Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup fans behave more like fans at a traditional PGA Tour event? Clearly, Audrey Leishman thinks so.

That said, there would seem to be a risk of throwing the baby out with the bathwater. Rowdy, partisan lunacy is part of what makes these team competitions what they are. The best entertainment comes when fan behavior is right up against the line of acceptability. And as long as this is something we enjoy as fans, there will be those who cross the line.

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20 Comments

20 Comments

  1. Chris

    Oct 11, 2017 at 10:09 am

    Anyone who says that ‘this is what fans are like at sports’ should go watch Murray vs Djokovic at Wimbledon or a rugby 6 nations match. Yes the home team/player is cheered on louder – but Djokovic’s aces are loudly applauded not booed, and the kicker is respected in rugby with silence. You want your team to win but you respect the skill and performance shown by the opposing team. The only things that should be jeered are foul play and bad refereeing decisions!

    Only sport this broadly doesn’t apply to is soccer, with its hooligan fans and primadonna toddler players – and that’s hardly a sport we would want to emulate now is it?

  2. Neil

    Oct 11, 2017 at 3:37 am

    Golfwrx, you should be ashamed of the writer of this article. He is ignorant, close-minded, hypocritical, and extremely biased.

  3. Mike

    Oct 10, 2017 at 6:12 pm

    Berger again, why give this, spit dribbling banjo playing half wit column space.
    This forum is a perfect example of the choice you have to express concerns about golf and why it’s struggling. Can you imagine the life “wifey man” lives in. Still not many choices when your IQ is single figures

  4. Duncan Castles

    Oct 9, 2017 at 5:09 am

    After the abomination of the last Ryder Cup GolfWRX praises and encourages ‘rowdy, partisan lunacy’?
    The behaviour of too many American spectators at the last Ryder Cup was unacceptable. Full stop. There is no place or need for abusive comments on the golf course, least of all when players are about to take a stroke. Your writer needs to have a long, hard think about this.

  5. Judgemental

    Oct 8, 2017 at 10:30 am

    The Worst one is……. ‘get in the hole’

  6. Mr. Replier Guy

    Oct 7, 2017 at 1:32 pm

    Avocado is my safe word.

  7. Andrew

    Oct 6, 2017 at 10:56 pm

    So Marc earns a million dollar payday and exemption and now wifey thinks she can spout an uninformed opinion with impunity? Let’s help get that foot out of your mouth, wifey. First, go to a rugby game and pay attention to the lunacy of the crowd. It’s the same for team sports anywhere in the world. Second, learn your place and leave all things golf to Marc.

  8. Humble Golfer

    Oct 6, 2017 at 3:59 pm

    When Jordan Speith says, and I quote “…the most respectful fans in the world…” to a European crowd after winning the Open, that should tell you what golfers think of the ridiculousness that has become this game.

  9. Ryan

    Oct 6, 2017 at 3:20 pm

    I mean try going to a college football game. I have seen whole beers thrown at opposing fans leaving the stands. My ex wife told me of D-Cell batteries being thrown. Trash talk in an event like this is par for the course.

    I am very happy to see her become healthy again and applaud her for bringing more awareness to what happened to her. Being a gracious loser sometimes takes being the better man/woman. And although I don’t know what was said, I didn’t see or hear anything that I thought was out of line. I’m a traditionalist in a sense but I also except that the game has evolved and is much better overall nowadays.

    • Bob Chipeska

      Oct 6, 2017 at 5:19 pm

      Drunken, boorish behavior from spectators is not the game “evolving”.

      • jerseychris

        Oct 8, 2017 at 4:16 pm

        But it is the reason I don’t go anymore.

  10. saveva

    Oct 6, 2017 at 2:50 pm

    She fails to realize that her reaction is exactly what the fans wanted. To get under the international teams skin. Seems like her sense of humor is as thin as her skin. What would you like Mrs. Leishman? A pitty party? Mercy rule? Participation trophy? You should expect so much entering hostile terrority, that’s why home teams have an advantage. Maybe one day you’ll realize fans is short for fanatics and these fanatics are the reason you’re eating caviar and sipping champagne.

  11. Rob

    Oct 6, 2017 at 2:12 pm

    The problem with fans behaving like fans at a traditional PGA Tour event is that these two tournaments are not traditional PGA Tour events and are treated as such. Fans get crazy and the euros do it to us when we cross the pond. Its the nature of competition. She needs to lighten up and realize that when country flags are on the line, the competition is fierce and so are the fans that attend.

  12. Vinicius Costa

    Oct 6, 2017 at 2:01 pm

    In my opinion it is a mistake to compare the Presidents/Ryder Cups with other sporting events. You should compare them when held in the US versus elsewhere, then you would see a very big difference. American fans are much less respectful than their counterparts and that’s pretty much undisputed.
    Besides, when Paul Casey said he hated the Americans in the heat of the moment, pretty much everyone crucified him. So much so that he had to make a public statement saying those were unfortunate words. Now, Berger’s comments are OK… See.s like Americans tend to be overlenient with their own. Just my 2ct.

  13. Aaron

    Oct 6, 2017 at 12:54 pm

    These are once a year exhibitions that don’t pay anything. If you don’t like it don’t show up. These things aren’t going to get more civilized going forward. IMO the conversation should be just making sure this kind of stuff doesn’t bleed into the regular tour events.

  14. chinchbugs

    Oct 6, 2017 at 12:50 pm

    How dare she write truthful upright statements! Get her and get this off the internet!!

  15. carl

    Oct 6, 2017 at 12:49 pm

    Sounds like she needs to get outside her private country club lifestyle once in a while. Has she ever been to another professional sporting event including a regular PGA event, college game, or even an international soccer or rugby match? The presidents cup was tame in comparison.

    I dont think she understands why someone would yell avocado. Its a stupid comment to get the player to think about something other than their game, and judging by the score, it worked.

    • michael

      Oct 6, 2017 at 1:52 pm

      Yes, “avocado” doomed the international team. There was no other factor at play.

    • Mat

      Oct 6, 2017 at 6:35 pm

      No one who isn’t a fellow bellend understands why anyone would shout ‘Avocado!’ at a golf event.

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19th Hole

Baba Booey for Life! Does this GolfWRX member have a point?

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Oh boy, here’s a heater. On the subject of Baba Booey-ing at golf tournaments, WRX member Stickner started a thread, writing

“For those that think nois.e while a player hits shouldn’t be allowed, you must also believe that fans should NEVER make noise.

“A player with a large gallery jars a 70 footer for eagle to take the lead. The crowd erupts! This should not be allowed.

“Why you ask? There are other golfers well within earshot of the noise. This could disrupt their game. Why does the nearby player you can see deserve the “courtesy of quiet” but the one 400 yards away that you can’t see doesn’t?

“We have all seen players back off because the crowd erupted on another hole. What happens when that eruption happens in the backswing right before the player is about to transition to the downswing? Those boisterous hooligans need to keep their traps shut as this is a gentleman’s game right?

“Being quiet while someone plays golf is silly. My guess is that the elitist snobs that played this game a century ago needed a scapegoat when hitting a bad shot and noise became their scapegoat.”

He wraps his rant in, well, the most appropriate way possible: “BABA BOOEY FOR LIFE B&^%HES!”

Now, this flies in the face of the “isolated noise during the golf swing is extremely distracting” argument that is popularly leveled in defense of silence. But let’s see what GolfWRX members think about Stickner’s comments.

MtlJeff says

“While i am not in favor of intentionally yelling during a swing, your point is an interesting one. I hadn’t really thought of it like that, the loud roars often get overlooked when it comes to the “distracting noise” narrative.”

Eagle1997 says

“Planned vs. Spontaneous. Jabroni Factor only applies to one.”

Blackngold_blood says

“I am fine with cheering for a great shot or groaning for a bad one. My problem with…bababooey and mashed potatoes is the fact that it has nothing to do with GOLF! All the person is doing is screaming “Look at me, I need attention!” Or how about the even less classy “How’s your ankle” that was shouted at Finau after he hit his last approach to 18. I get the point that these are professional athletes and golf is becoming more mainstream but the immature comments need to stop.”

Naptime says

“Background noises and distant noises can be perceived as while noise. If you play next to a highway you adapt and become less aware of it. But if a trucker blasts a horn in your swing it would startle and at least for me would probably result in a hot grounder to third base. Yelling Baba Booey or any other lame comment after a swing doesn’t startle the swinger, just make the shouter sound like a doofus who can’t hold his alcohol.”

What do you think, GolfWRX members? Does Stickner have a point? Should the rules of the wider sports world apply to golf, or does golf fandom require a particular understanding of when to be quiet and when to cheer?

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19th Hole

Both Rory McIlroy and Jordan Spieth laughed at Phil Mickelson’s 13th hole antics

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The image of 48-year-old Phil Mickelson jogging after his golf ball on the 13th green at Shinnecock, Saturday, was bizarrely comedic. Even if you condemn Mickelson in the strongest of terms, taken on its face, the scene is a silly one.

That said, it’s interesting that two of the biggest names in the game had the same response: laughter.

Speaking before the Travelers Championship, Rory McIlroy said

“I saw what happened…and honestly, I laughed. I felt there was a massive overreaction to it. Knowing Phil, he knew what he was doing, and as a player who has been in that head space before in a tournament, I can see it happening.”

Jordan Spieth voiced similar sentiments earlier in the week

“I laughed, I thought it was really funny…Phil knows the rules…There was a chance it was going to go back behind the bunker and he’s got to chip back, or he was going to play off the green anyways, so he was potentially saving himself a shot. So if that was the intent, then what’s the harm in that? He’s playing the best score he can.”

There are a couple of widely different perspectives (and plenty in-between) here.

One: Thank goodness Spieth and McIlroy aren’t uptight dogmatists when it comes to the rules, and they appreciate the humor in an absurd situation.

Two: Spieth and McIlroy, as significant figures in the game, ought to stand up for the integrity of the rules of golf, condemning Mickelson’s behavior…and perhaps question whether disqualification was in order (as Jason Day and other pros have done).

Which camp you find yourself in likely aligns with how you view the Mickelson incident: A humorous and well-deserved middle finger to the USGA or a reprehensible act for which Mickelson was not sufficiently punished?

Beneath Mickelson’s behavior and the responses of McIlroy and Spieth is the ever-growing rift between the USGA and PGA Tour players–as well as a level of annoyance with/disdain for the organization’s Rules of Golf.

Remembering how Mickelson spearheaded the overhaul of the PGA of America-run U.S. Ryder Cup team and its procedures when he called out captain Tom Watson in 2014, it was the same sort of situation: “Is this calculated, or has he lost his mind?” everyone seemed to be asking.

In the wake of those remarks, players rallied behind the veteran, and he assumed a leadership position in the reform effort. Whether we see something similar with respect to the pros and the USGA/U.S. Open, it certainly looks like the political will for change is there among Tour players, as McIlroy and Spieth’s remarks suggest.

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19th Hole

In other Phil Mickelson news…robot-delivered food

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Not an Onion story; real thing that is actually happening here. Phil Mickelson and his manager/business partner, Steve Loy have signed a deal with Generation NEXT Franchise Brands, Inc. and its flagship subsidiary, Reis & Irvy’s, to open 30 yogurt locations in San Diego.

We’ll just quote directly from the press release, because, who can paraphrase language like this?

“Reis & Irvy’s-branded signature robot characters of the same name can dispense servings of frozen yogurt, ice cream, gelatos and sorbet topped with a selection of six delicious toppings in under 60 seconds. With self-checkout touch screen ordering and payment options, video animation, music and delicious frozen dessert provided exclusively by Dannon, robot vendors meet consumer demand for convenience, entertainment and a superior quality product.”

Mickelson and Loy are reportedly keen to challenge the status quo in food retail.

“I’m absolutely thrilled to be part of such transformative industry change,” says Mickelson. “I’ve pushed boundaries my whole career and that mindset carries over into the business world. The energy and passion from the Generation NEXT team to both deliver a quality product and disrupt food retail is exciting.”

Reis & Irvy’s has awarded $130 million in franchise and licensing contracts since its launch in 2016.

Dress shirts on course. Robo froyo. What will Phil do next, indeed.

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