For the second week in a row, Tiger Woods was in the mix to win a golf tournament, which meant that fans were scrambling to an event they might otherwise have skipped. And they’re rowdy fans, too, according to one star of the sport.
“I can safely say if it keeps tracking like it is right now, this will be the largest event in the 53-year-history of our tournament,” Marci Doyle, CEO of the Arnold Palmer Invitational, told the Orlando Sentinel.
Fans appear giddy at Woods’s resurgence and flocked to the Valspar Championship last weekend, watching him finish in a tie for second place, one stroke behind Paul Casey. A little too giddy by golf’s standards.
As Derek Britton, an Irishman who is one of the marshals at the Arnie said to a group of fans aggressively hooting and hollering as they followed Tiger Woods, “This is not a soccer match; it’s a golf tournament” (via the Sentinel’s Mike Bianchi). “So shush!!!”
It’s everywhere, lamentably, and it’s partly fueled by alcohol, as well as Woods. As Bianchi points out, it’s not all attributable to the return of Tiger. There’s bad behavior at the Ryder Cup and at the Phoenix Open, to name two, but Rory McIlroy was particularly perturbed Saturday at Bay Hill.
“There was one guy out there today who kept yelling my wife’s name,” McIlroy said. “I was going to go over and have a chat with him. I know that people want to come and enjoy themselves, and I’m all for that. But sometimes, when the comments get personal and people become rowdy, it can get to be a little much.”
That reminds us of something …
Last week at the Valspar, crowds ran from hole to hole with Woods, and even portable toilets weren’t off-limits.
On March 9, Woods’s caddie Joe LaCava watched fans surround the portable toilet Woods had entered on the 17th tee. “People following him in there with a camera,” LaCava said (via the New York Times). “It’s ridiculous.”
When Woods answered the call of nature at another portable toilet Saturday, The Washington Post’s Dave Sheinin relays that one fan yelled, “Get it all out, Tiger!” Most of the fans were a little more composed, but many, as Sheinin reported, were yelling, “I love you.” Open your ears as you watch on TV and you’ll hear the renewed vigor in the voices of the yutzes who scream, “Get in the hole!” with every shot.
Welcome back, Tiger. Your sport is turning into football.
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