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Has it really been one month since I constructively criticized the PGA Championship for not allowing fans to bring their cell phones into its 2010 event at Whistling Straits?
It should not have been that long, because it was quickly after that blog was posted that I received a phone call from Ken Lovell, Vice President of Media Development for the PGA Tour.
With the Ryder Cup on the docket for this weekend and people thinking golf during an already predictable media-heavy football season, I decided that today was the “better late than never” time to share what Lovell told me about how the PGA is in tune with its fans’ desire to shoot photos and react to what’s going while they attend a professional golf tournament.
Rules, rules, rules, why is it so hard for athletes to follow the rules!
On Sunday, for the second time in as many months, a ‘Johnson’ broke the rules in the world of sports.
First, way back on August 12th, Dustin Johnson grounded his club in a destroyed sand trap on 18th hole of the PGA Championship incurring him a 2-stroke penalty. The move cost him more than just 2 strokes as it knocked him out of a playoff for the major title. The entire world watched when Johnson first heard what he had unknowingly done.
Then it happened again, on September 12th. Seconds remained in the Detroit Lions-Chicago Bears game when Lions receiver Calvin Johnson and everybody else in the world thought he caught the game winning touchdown. The play was reviewed and overturned after it became clear that Johnson lost the ball while attempting to use it to help him get up from the ground.
A couple of weeks ago I was faced with a challenge unlike anything I’d experienced in the last few years while attending the Professional Golf Association’s premier event – the PGA Championship — at the beautiful Whistling Straights golf course in Kohler, Wis. I went to the tourney as a fan, not as a member of the media, which limited my communication throughout the day.
According to PGA rules, I was not allowed to bring a phone or mobile device of any kind (which in my case, are one in the same) into the venue. I could deal with having to silence my phone, but to be removed from social media and email was trying for someone who depends on those tools to run and monitor a publicity business.
After all, I was pretty excited about the prospects of how I could monitor other holes from my iPhone – the PGA touted its apps like few other organizations do. But they weren’t app-licable to me. I was there.