Yet again golf looks out of touch with the rest of the world. What else is new?
The PGA Tour’s unbelievable flip flop, it’s on, oh actually it’s off, approach to the Players Championship is the latest in a long line of examples of golf being out of tune with reality.
PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan (pictured) eventually did the right thing by cancelling the Players Championship, but why on earth he decided to go ahead with the opening round in the first place defies belief. Despite just about every other sport in the world shutting down because of the Coronavirus, Monahan’s decision to plough on with the tournament was staggering display of either ignorance or arrogance. That’s not me speaking.
Hank Haney, Tiger Woods former swing coach, was pretty blunt in his assessment of the PGA Tour’s initial decision to proceed with the Players. He tweeted:
“Absolutely one of the stupidest moves ever to play the Players today.”
Here’s what Lee Westwood tweeted long before Monahan and the PGA Tour saw the light.
I’d make CT Pan PGA Tour commissioner. He withdrew before the first round. His subsequent tweet didn’t show the PGA Tour in a good light.
"I'm probably the only one who is not playing. Same number as the hand sanitizers in the clubhouse, locker and dining."
Former U.S Open winner Lucas Glover was amazed fans were allowed in for the opening round. He said:
“What about all these people, standing next to each other, breathing on each other, handing us their hat to sign?”
It’s not as if the PGA Tour couldn’t have looked to fellow organisations for guidance. As Westwood noted, the European Tour had already cancelled the Maybank Championship, Volvo China Open, Hero Indian Open and the Kenya Open because of the Coronavirus. The LPGA also showed commons sense by cancelling its next three tournaments including the Ana Inspiration, the year’s first major.
Amidst all that, the PGA tour blindly decided to carry on before the penny finally dropped. In the space of one day the organisation went from the ridiculous decision to play the final three rounds without fans to cancelling the tournament all together.
Golf being reactive rather than proactive isn’t new. Look at the long fight for women to be treated as equals, a fight that’s sadly still going on.
We were told for years that there wasn’t a problem with distance in the game only to be told this year that, actually, er, there is a problem with distance in the game.
As for the historical attitude in some quarters to children playing this great game, don’t get me started!
Why does our great sport always seem to take so long to do the right thing?