Sunday, January 23, 2011

Since when are TV viewers PGA rules officials?

TV viewers have been calling tour players on rules violoations for years.  This is not something new.  It just seems to be something that has become more prevalent lately.  There are probably several reasons why this is so, and the main reason being that the television and media coverage has expanded over the years.  To the point that we now have a 24/7 channel totally devoted to golf.  So, you can see how the number of these occurrences are on the incline, but as I see it the real question is 'Should players be penalized for something caught on television coverage?'

There are few different points of view I'd like to discuss.  First off the rules of golf!  Golf is a game of honour, and we see guys bit the bullet of the rules all the time.  But lets face it the rules are harsh, and sometimes unrealistic.  Just ask Craig Stadler, who placed a towel on the ground to keep his knees from getting wet while hooking a shot back into the fairway in the 1987 tour stop at Torrey Pines.  The fact is that they are RULES and they are not flexible.  They are explicit, and are meant to be adhered too. This is part of what makes the rules of golf great, they are not debatable.  They are about as black and white as rules get in sports. 
Secondly, does Heath Slocum really get as much television coverage as Tiger or Padraig?  The answer is NO. Not unless he is in the lead and even then it might be questionable.  That said, the top ranked players literally have thousands of television viewers or should I call them rules officials following them shot by shot, round after round.  Does this make it fair?  Definately not. 

I wanted to keep this rant fairly short, because it is a topic which can be debated extensively and certainly it will be over time.  What it seems like to me is that if PGA rules officials are missing these rule violiations, this should not be the case.  With regards to the rules of golf, well certainly the rules off golf were not developed with TV cameras and instant replay in mind.  Taking this into consideration I think is becomes very apparent that some changes are in order.



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