ATLANTA — Fans who yell “Brooksie!” to Bryson DeChambeau might be removed from the tournament and have their tickets or badges confiscated.
That also goes for vulgar or rude comments and gestures, or harassment of anyone involved with the tournament or other disruptive behavior.
Left unclear is whether shouting “mashed potatoes!” or “light the candle!” is on the list.
Increase in Aggressive Fan Behavior
It’s all part of the PGA Tour’s updated code of conduct, which was in works before the coronavirus pandemic shut down golf for three months in the spring of 2020, and then put in place this year as spectators began to return. A campaign called “Rep Our Game” was rolled out ahead of the FedEx Cup playoffs.
This has become timely now because of incidents involving DeChambeau that stem from the PGA Championship in May. He and Brooks Koepka have accelerated a petty feud that began on social media and has spilled into the gallery, with most of heckling involving “Brooksie.”
It runs deeper, though. PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan said golf is only one of the sports witnessing aggressive fan behavior after spectators being away from sports for so long because of the pandemic.
“This is about just a few bad actors. And for the record, this isn’t about any one particular player or one particular incident,” Monahan said Tuesday ahead of the season-ending Tour Championship. “But in some situations it’s apparent that we have gotten away from the very civility and respect that are hallmarks to our great game.”
Monahan said the priority was simply to create a safe environment.
“We’re going to be leaders in this space. We’re going to show everyone how easy it is to enjoy yourself at an event while also respecting the athletes in the field of play and the fans around you, many of whom are families with young kids who have a chance to be lifetime fans of the game themselves,” he said. “Quite honestly, we should expect nothing less from each other, whether we’re at a golf tournament or elsewhere in life.”
Top Players Escorted by Police
Top players typically have local law enforcement walking with their groups. DeChambeau pointed toward a few spectators who were escorted away from his group at the Memorial.
Asked specifically if someone could be removed for calling DeChambeau the wrong name, Monahan said yes.
“The barometer we are all using is the word ‘respect.’ And to me, when you hear ‘Brooksie’ yelled or you hear any expression yelled, is that respectful or disrespectful?” he said. “To me, at this point, it’s disrespectful. And that’s the kind of behavior that we’re not going to tolerate going forward.”
Jon Rahm won the money title, just not the award.
That’s because there is no award.
With his third-place finish in The Northern Trust and a tie for ninth in the BMW Championship, Rahm finished the PGA Tour season with $7,705,933. He beat out BMW Championship winner Patrick Cantlay by $67,128.
The Tour Championship no longer has a purse, only the $60 million FedEx Cup bonus payout, with $15 million going to the winner.
And the PGA Tour no longer has the Arnold Palmer Award for whoever had the most official earnings. That stopped in 2019, when the award was given to the rookie of the year. The PGA Tour now focuses only on FedEx Cup points.
Even so, the title is worth noting because making money has been a longtime measure of success in golf. Plus, Rahm is the first Spaniard to win the PGA Tour money list. It gets so little attention that not even Rahm was aware.
“I didn’t know that I had won the money list and I didn’t know that I’m the first Spanish player to achieve that. But I’m very proud of it,” Rahm said. “It has been a very weird season, with many majors, many players playing very well. However, I don’t know if it really matters when this week we play for what we play, the bonus of the FedEx Cup. I think in these days of the FedEx Cup, maybe the money list is less important than years before.
“In any case, hopefully I can win FedEx Cup and can explain what I feel with that.”
Justin Thomas won the last Arnold Palmer Award for winning the money title in 2018. Brooks Koepka won the money title in 2019, and Thomas won it again — for the third time — in 2020.
Patrick Reed made it to the Tour Championship without having played in three weeks.
Reed announced on Twitter that he was headed to Atlanta after a bout with what he described as bilateral pneumonia.
His odds of winning are not quite as long as being at East Lake, as Reed will start the Tour Championship 10 shots behind Patrick Cantlay. But at least he gets one last chance to make an impression before Steve Stricker announces his six captain’s picks for the Ryder Cup.
Reed dropped from No. 22 in the FedEx Cup standings to No. 26 after missing the first event, and he narrowly hung on at No. 30 last week when K.H. Lee took bogey from the 18th fairway at the BMW Championship.
Bryson DeChambeau has not spoken to the media, outside of PGA Tour broadcast partners, throughout the FedEx Cup playoffs. That presumably stems from when he told reporters at the FedEx St. Jude Invitational that he hasn’t been vaccinated against COVID-19 because he didn’t want to deprive people who needed the shots more (the CDC has said there’s no vaccine shortage).
That became awkward when he nearly shot 59 on Friday at the BMW Championship.
And then he refused to speak even to broadcast partners after losing a six-hole playoff to Patrick Cantlay.
PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan says he has spoken to DeChambeau — he didn’t reveal the topic — and doesn’t expect this to last.
“Listen, Bryson is a star. He has fascinated golf and sport fans around the world since our return to golf,” Monahan said. “He’s also a young man that’s growing and evolving, not just on the golf course, but off the golf course. … I don’t think this is the way things are going to be for a long period of time. I’m hopeful that we’ll get back to a steady cadence of communication that he’ll have with the media. But he’s working through some things and he’s going to have my and our support as he continues to do so.
“I think that sometimes, as hard as it is to contemplate and understand, I think human beings and individuals need some space,” he said. “And I think that’s what’s going on right now.”
APGA in the Fall
Farmers Insurance, the biggest supporter of the Advocates Professional Golf Association for minority players, is sponsoring a fall series.
The APGA Tour Farmers Insurance Fall Series will feature tournaments in Philadelphia, Atlanta and Los Angeles to help further the tour’s mission of bringing greater diversity to the game. The series concludes at Wilshire Country Club, site of an LPGA Tour event.
The prize money will be $25,000 for the first two events and $30,000 for the last one and includes a bonus pool with $7,500 going to the top players from the series.
Seven players who reached the Tour Championship have not won a PGA Tour event this season. That includes Olympic gold medalist Xander Schauffele. … Seventeen players earned $5 million or more this season on the PGA Tour. … Sara Ingram is returning next year as Curtis Cup captain after leading the Americans to victory last week in Wales. The Curtis Cup in 2022 is set for Merion, and then Sunningdale in England for 2024. … The BMW Championship was the 14th playoff of the year on the PGA Tour. … The ShopRite LPGA Classic on Oct. 1-3 will feature the first all-female broadcast team in golf, including lead producer Beth Hutter.
Stat of the Week
Patrick Cantlay has three PGA Tour victories this season. The runners-up have been Justin Thomas, Jon Rahm, Collin Morikawa and Bryson DeChambeau.
“It’s not a competition of how well you hit the ball. It’s a competition of how well you score.” — Jon Rahm.