Everyone loves some good GOLF BEEF, and we had it yesterday at the The Open.
Bob MacIntyre, a rookie playing his very first British Open, has had a nice little start to his first major championship. The 22-year-old Scotsman currently sits inside the top 20 on the leaderboard and could work himself into the TV coverage with a nice little Saturday. But no matter what he does on the course, he might have won himself a few fans on Friday.
Why? The rookie ripped into veteran American tour pro Kyle Stanley for failing to yell FORE after a few wayward tee balls that struck fans on the course.
Per the account, MacIntyre confronted Stanley after striking his caddie’s mother on the 17th hole — just three holes after pegging a marshal on the 14th. Here’s MacIntyre’s account on what happened, from The Scotsman:
“My playing partner doesn’t shout ‘Fore’, his ball goes into the crowd, we’re shouting ‘Fore’ as the ball is coming into the crowd. He’s just standing watching it. And people didn’t have enough time to react when we shouted.”
“It hit Greg’s mum. So I told him how it was. I said I wasn’t happy – and he didn’t really like my response. He’s the only one I’ve seen do that. It was straight into the crowd. It was into the crowd from the word go. And we’re expecting him to shout fore. She’s all right, I think, but it’s not what you want. “
“Aye, there were harsh words,” added the left-hander, who was pleased to make the cut on his Open debut. “It wasn’t too pleasant. But you’ve got to tell him it’s not right. He didn’t take it well at all.
According to McIntyre’s account, Stanley snipped back and wasn’t happy with whatever was said. Both McIntyre and third playing partner Beef Johnston shouted.
It’s okay to hold out a bit of judgment until we hear from Stanley on this, but right now it’s an extremely bad look for him. Still, singling him out here as the only guy who’s ever sulked after a tee shot and failed to alert fans wouldn’t be fair either. This is an issue in professional golf, everywhere.
MacIntyre’s right. And a touring pro needed to speak up on this issue.
There’s a massive bucket of golf etiquette rules that are retrograde and born out of yesterday with little-to-no purpose — simple victimless faux pas that become a magnet for critiques and takes. Failing to properly alert those ahead of an errant tee ball is not one of them.
Errant golf balls can kill and professional golf is sitting on ticking timebomb. A piercing tee ball to the dome is wildly dangerous to anyone in the best of health, let alone the young children often in galleries at events. If you’ve ever spent time at an event, you’ll know that tracking a tee ball while standing 300 yards away is far from easy. Add in other groups you might be trying to watch, cell phones, just general human nature to converse with others around you, and you’ve basically got a completely confined group of sitting ducks. If you stop to think about it when you’re among one of those herds, it’s unnerving!
It’s easy to make Kyle Stanley out as some sort of unique type of asshole here, but the reality is this has been going on in professional golf for a long time. Stanley is far from the first Tour pro to hit a wayward ball, sulk, moan, and give zero concern for any that might be ahead.
And, no — shouting a simple word isn’t going to cure or eliminate the inherent risk of attending a professional golf event. The logistics behind any sort of protective barrier are impossible and shots are always going to end up where human bodies await. But it’s the gesture that matters. Golf fans spend good money to come out and support a bunch of guys who get to play a pasture game for a living. Shouting one single word to make sure someone doesn’t leave with a brain injury is an exceptionally low bar to clear.
But Kyle Stanley didn’t. And many other pros before him haven’t either. That has to change.
Yell “Fore!” Yell it loud. Throw in a FORE RIGHT, or FORE LEFT, or add a directional club point. Sauce it up however you like. Washing your hands of it all and leaving it to marshals and forecaddies is cheap.
So, good on Bob MacIntyre. Just calling attention to this once might save one person from serious injury, and if we’re lucky it’ll change the conversation and make one simple word routine from any professional golfer after a wayward ball heading toward fans.