The year of the unruly fan appears to show no signs of stopping on the PGA Tour.
Every week there seems to be a fan incident with a fan on the course either heckling, stalking or being disruptive to a golfer. Sergio Garcia is the latest victim of the disturbing trend.
During his match on Wednesday at the WGC Dell Technologies Match Play in Austin, Texas, Garcia asked a police officer to remove a fan from the course. Garcia, who recently became a father for the first time, said that the fan was shouting “not very nice things.”
The fan incident came after an incredible shot by Garcia from the cart path when he took off his shoes to get a better balance on the pavement. He went on to birdie the hole.
The shot excited the crowd, but an annoyed Garcia then pointed to a cop and told him to remove the spectator in a white shirt from the course.
Fan-player ejections have become commonplace on Tour recently.
Justin Thomas, the world’s No. 2 golfer, had a fan removed last month after a spectator rooted for a shot from Thomas to “get in the bunker.” Thomas took offense to the decorum and had the man removed before later apologizing for doing so.
Rory McIlroy openly criticized the golf environment last week at the Arnold Palmer Invitational after a fan continued to shout his wife’s name during the third round. McIlroy went on to win the API but questioned the sale of alcohol at the events.
“I know that people want to come and enjoy themselves, and I’m all for that, but it’s when the comments get personal and people get a little bit rowdy it can get a little much,” McIlroy told ESPN’s Bob Harig. “It used to be you bring beers on the course but not liquor. And now it seems like everyone’s walking around with a cocktail. So I don’t know if it’s just go back to people walking around with beers in their hand, that’s fine, but I don’t know.”
The Garcia incident on Wednesday came hours after PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan addressed fan-player interaction. Monahan said that the Tour is continuing to monitor the situation at events and that there are already stringent rules for alcohol serving, including no sales after 5 p.m.
“When you have people who aren’t behaving properly and they’ve had too much alcohol, then I agree [with McIlroy],” Monahan said. “In those incidences, those people who are making it uncomfortable for a player alcohol sales should be cut off.”
That was put to the test later on with Garcia’s incident, and it shows no signs of stopping.
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