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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

The Things I Do to Play Golf

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It’s 9:00 p.m. on a random Thursday evening in November. It’s dark, cold, and I’m exhausted. I’ve seen a deer, a frog, and I’ve had two neighbors asked me what I was doing. Technically, one asked me what I was doing; the other asked me if I was nuts.  Either way, for the past 3 hours I’ve been outside cleaning up leaves… in the dark. My feet are numb, my nose is running, and I can barely feel my fingertips.

How did I get to this point? It all started back on Tuesday when I checked the forecast and saw that it was going to be sunny and in the mid 60s. For a guy in the Midwest, this is like finding a unicorn or seeing Sasquatch. To have this kind of weather in mid-to-late November — and on a weekend no less! It’s what we dream about. I knew I had a lot going on the rest of the week, but nonetheless I followed my standard operating procedure of booking a tee time and asking questions later.

This is where things got a little dicey. I had put off a few things last weekend to play 18 holes on Sunday, so I was going to have an uphill battle. It also may have slipped my mind that my wife and I were going to dinner on Friday evening with some friends. So I basically had two days to get two weeks worth of errands and chores done.

I started off Wednesday morning by picking up a few things at Walgreens on my way to the office. Then, in what turned out to be a brilliant move, I went to the grocery store at lunch. Why was this so brilliant you ask? Well, in addition to needing groceries, my wife needed a whole list full of items for several upcoming events we (she) was hosting. Since I was heading back to the office, I picked up every item on the list that didn’t need to be kept cold, which was the majority of the list. Then on my way back, I picked up my dry cleaning and some Chick-Fil-A.

After work, I had to pick up my daughter from dance practice. This is where I made a do-or-die decision to go to a second grocery store in the same day. I managed to pick up the remaining items on the list and pulled up to the pickup line at the dance studio just as the girls were walking out. BOOM! That’s what I’m talking about! As we drove home, I was feeling pretty good about myself, but I knew I wasn’t out of the woods yet.

Thursday was just as productive as the day before. I managed to get to my doctor’s appointment, pick up a prescription and make a quick run to Target. I was starting to get cocky. All I had to do was get the leaves taken care of after work and I was home free. Unfortunately, that feeling of cockiness ended as soon as soon as I pulled up to my house. I expected that there was going to be a decent number of leaves since I hadn’t picked any up the previous weekend. What I didn’t expect was for the wind to have picked up in the afternoon and blown all of my neighbors leaves into my yard as well. I sat in my car for a second to pump myself up.

I envisioned myself on the course on Saturday (sunny, 65 degrees, and sitting at even par with three holes to play). Then I got out of my car and was slapped across the face with a 20 mph gust of wind. I may have let out a squeal before I scurried inside like an 8-year-old who had been playing in the snow too long. After changing out of my suit, I put on enough layers to make me look like the Michelin Man. I trudged outside like a man on a mission.

This brings us back to where we started. I was cold and miserable, but there wasn’t a leaf in sight by the time I was done. After a glass of scotch by the fireplace, I went to bed. I woke up a little sore, embarrassingly.

“I can’t believe you really did that last night,” my wife said. My response: “Totally worth it!”

Saturday was absolutely perfect. The weather was great. To my surprise the course was fairly wide open, and I played pretty well. I enjoyed a great cigar afterward at the outdoor bar and my wife met me for dinner later. I really can’t think of a better way to spend a Saturday afternoon in November.

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19th Hole

Rickie Fowler’s touching Instagram tribute to dying man he played golf with

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Rickie Fowler posted this photo to Instagram, Thursday.

Fowler’s caption reads

“38 days ago I flew up to Atlanta to play golf with a man fighting pancreatic cancer. For him I hope it was a fun filled enjoyable round of golf! For me it turned out to be much more than that…from breakfast to the course to a late afternoon lunch it was amazing! We shared a cart and shared plenty of laughs along the way! I think some of his putting rubbed off on me too as he made plenty that day! It was a day I will remember for the rest of my life!”

“11 days ago, the Sunday before Tiger’s tourney, we lost that man…a man I wish I could thank for choosing to spend one of his last days with me! Thank you Dr. Reyes, and the win last week was for you! Rest In Peace and my thoughts and prayers go out to your family and friends!”

Damn. What more can really be said? Incredibly classy, gracious gesture from Fowler.

Rest in peace, Dr. Reyes.

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19th Hole

Gamechanger? USGA allows smartphone use for distance information during competition

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Good news, competitive golfers, you can now use your smartphone for distance information.

That’s right. The USGA, responding directly to Arccos’ request that its 360 app be permissible during competition, had this to say (per Golf Digest)

“Based on the information provided and our understanding that the Arccos 360 is incapable of gauging or measuring any parameter other than distance, use of the Arccos Caddie application in conjunction with the Arccos 360 application, as submitted, has been evaluated and it has been determined that the use of the Arccos Caddie application is permitted under the Rules of Golf when a Committee establishes a Local Rule permitting the use of distance measuring devices (see Decision 14-3/0.5). However, please note that in the absence of such a Local Rule, use of the Arccos System during a stipulated round is contrary to Rule 14-3.”

Because any information (namely, yardages) garnered from the app would theoretically be available prior to play, the USGA doesn’t have a problem with the use of the device.

“Golf is still a game of skill and judgment, and anything that can give a player an advantage and diminish that judgment is a problem,” USGA senior director of rules and amateur status Thomas Pagel told Golf Digest’s Mike Stachura. “The compilation of two or more data points to provide some recommendation that takes that judgment away from the player, that’s where the issue comes in.”

Thus, the use Arccos Caddie, which provides club recommendations and “plays like” distances to a user, is not permissible from the “two or more data points” perspective.

Needless to say, Arccos is happy.

“Everything in golf is sort of an evolutionary process,” Tom Williams, Arccos vice president of sales and marketing, told Golf Digest. “We think this is a really important step in a process that’s going to speed up, not slow down. We certainly feel the product breaks new ground, but this decision does, as well. You never know what’s going to happen when you’re pushing the boundaries, but we’re just super pleased that this is the outcome of many months of our process.”

Beyond Arccos in particular, however, and as Tom Williams rightly says, the decision builds on the 2016 allowance of rangefinder use during tournament play (Rule 14-3a), further opening the doors for the use of technology on course. 18Birdies, for example, another popular app that, among its capabilities, offers distance information, has a “USGA Tournament Mode” setting.

Certainly, the determination is good for the golf industry. Perhaps, the ripple effect is minimal, but there is at least potential both in terms of opening the door to app development, and doing something concrete about the great bugaboo of slow play at the competitive level.

Undoubtedly, some observers would go so far as to suggest the full capabilities of Arccos Caddie should be permissible for a player during competition.

From the “all or nothing” standpoint, there’s a logic to this position, which goes something like this: The USGA draws the line at information accessed during the round or using multiple data points. So, you can’t use a wind-measuring device, for example, but you can access projections of wind speed prior to your round.

Likewise (and uneasily, for the USGA), a player can have detailed green and slope maps in a yardage book, but he cannot access information projecting how his putt will break from an app during the round.

There’s a strangeness to the current climate. Don’t let players use yardage books or any devices, or let them use all available resources, lines in the sand that keep golf “a game of skill” are arbitrary, the “unrestrained technology” position holds.

Regardless, drawing lines in the sand is the order of the day, and in this case, the USGA has drawn correctly.

What do you think, WRX members?

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