Gallery Issues Arise As British Open Allows Cell Phones For The First Time
Cell phones are being allowed at the British Open for the first time this year, and USGA Exec Dir Mike Davis said that golfer Tiger Woods during his first round Thursday "backed off all day from people taking pictures and from ringtones,” according to Rick Reilly of ESPN. Davis said that British Open officials "couldn’t reach the rule rovers … and tell them what was going on because if I made a call to you, it would be a half-hour before you saw that you missed a call." He said that it was "a real problem because even though they have walkie-talkies, there’s a lot of things that they don’t want out on 250 radios.” ESPN’s Mike Tirico cited R&A CEO Peter Dawson as saying that the NGB wanted “to make it so attractive for patrons/fans to come to events (and) you never go anywhere without your cell phone." Tirico: "They were hoping they could let people do it, but the experiment still needs to figure out some kinks” (“British Open,” ESPN, 7/19). The AP’s Doug Ferguson wrote there was “one problem” with golfer Sergio Garcia. He was “trying to hit a shot out of the rough on the 15th hole when a young man took his picture.” Because the patron's camera-phone “wasn’t on silent, the sound caused Garcia to back off his shot.” British Open marshals “barked a reminder that no cameras were allowed” (AP, 7/19).
GET WITH THE TIMES: Golfer Lee Westwood said that the ban of cell phones at the British Open “was unrealistic in the modern age.” Westwood: “We live in times when the mobile phone is a key tool in business affairs so I think we might deter people from attending if there is a ban. Obviously you don't want them ringing when you are about to take a shot, but in general golf followers tend to be mindful of a player's needs.” Golfer Adam Scott has “also backed the R&A’s decision, but warned that fans will need to use their phones responsibly.” Scott said, “I don't have a problem with it. I just hope all spectators at the Open are considerate towards the players and put them on silent" (CNN.com, 7/19).