Letting it go: Should spitting be banned or should we about-face a dark eye?
Keegan Bradley’s spitting during the final annular of the Northern Trust Open at Riviera acquired a absolute Twitter action on Sunday night so I anticipation it was time to revisit/regurgitate an article I acquaint on the accountable aftermost year.
Let us apperceive your thoughts in the comments box below….
It’s become a accepted sight.
A golfer is apparent stood by the tee or blooming cat-and-mouse to comedy his abutting attempt but aloof afore the advantage cuts aback to the flat he lets go a venemous acquittal of spit.
What happens abutting appears to depend on breadth you live.
In the UK, there will be an afraid acknowledgment from the anchor, alike an acknowledgment to viewers. In the US, altercation will artlessly focus on the attempt advanced or accepted accompaniment of the leaderboard.
So what’s action on here? Does the UK accept added prudish presenters?
Probably not but that isn’t the point away. The accepted action on these shores is that spitting looks abhorrent aback done by a golfer who is hardly breeding endless of the actuality artlessly by walking.
In fact, it would be added abnormal for our TV presenters NOT to acknowledgment it aback it’s done so brazenly.
The added accepted concensus is that it appears to be, shall we say, an American disease.
What baffles abounding UK golf admirers is that it’s not aloof the American adolescent bucks (i.e. Dustin Johnson, whose aplomb levels were acutely set to aerial during his win at Pebble Beach) who are accusable but additionally some of the flush veterans such as ‘Gentleman’ Jim Furyk.
Tiger Woods is a consecutive spitter too, bidding acclaimed candid analyst Jack Bannister to acquaint Talksport admirers aftermost week: “Tiger’s accent lasted 13 account and I anticipate it’s the longest time I’ve apparent him go afterwards spitting.”
In short, it’s become an issue. In fact, the Sky Sports Golf aggregation accept been inundated with so abounding e-mails on the accountable that it led the show’s presenter Robert Lee to declare: “Let’s alpha a attack to brand it out.”
Says Lee: “If abundant belletrist were accounting to the PGA Tour maybe it would accompany abundant absorption to it and article could get done because it’s vile. But the Americans aloof don’t assume agitated about it. It doesn’t assume to register.”
Lee’s Sky Sports aide Mark Roe – additionally a above European Tour champ – is decidedly abrupt on the matter.
“It’s an actually blameworthy habit,” says Roe. “I saw Dustin Johnson discharge on the aboriginal tee at Riviera afore he hit his tee attempt and it was disgusting.
“The botheration is they accumulate afraid chewing tobacco into the ancillary of their mouths, I assumption it’s a country affair over there. It’s article the Swedes acclimated to do on the European Tour but to the acclaim of the Swedes they weren’t actual generally apparent spitting on camera.
“It’s got to be formed out. It needs to become a fineable answerability on both the PGA Tour and the European Tour. It should alpha with a $1,500 accomplished and afresh it should be angled every time they are apparent spitting.”
Over the top?
Plenty of UK golf admirers would accede with Roe and Lee but what would they accomplish of such comments on the added ancillary of the Atlantic?
To advice acquisition out, I asked three US journalists about whether their countrymen were accusable and why added Americans didn’t booty answerability in the aforementioned way as us Brits.
Here’s how they responded.
Geoff Shackelford (US blogger): I anticipate added Americans are disgusted by it than you may realize. But remember, this is a nation that appealing abundant looks accomplished any affectionate of ambiguous behavior until we aloof can’t handle it or the absolute arrangement collapses, and I assumption spitting is way bottomward the antecedence account abaft apathetic play, club casting and added golfing atrocities. Though we did draw the band aback Sergio altercation in the cup. Somehow that got people’s attention, apparently because of the antibody alteration possibilities added than the arduous tackiness of the gesture.
Stephanie Wei (US blogger, SI golf contributor): I asked a agglomeration of Canadian Tour players that catechism a few years ago. I was at the CanTour championship to caddy for my friend, Andres Gonzales, and I noticed how all the players discharge – it didn’t amount if they dipped, chewed or smoked cigarettes, abounding didn’t do either. I was baffled and anticipation it was gross. I started watching afterpiece on the PGA Tour and it seems to be that golfers beyond the lath spit. So I laughed aback I got your email because it’s a abnormality I’ve wondered about. Do European Tour players not spit? (I’m appealing abiding Sergio Garcia does. Didn’t he discharge in the cup at Augusta aftermost year?) Anyway, I anticipate they do it because it’s like a afraid tick. Conceivably they watch some of the old golfers and afresh advance the habit. Aback I asked some of the CanTour players about it, they said it was “to be tough” or “intimidation”. Okay, so they were actuality a little facetious. This ability complete crazy, but I absolutely anticipate it’s aloof a (disgusting) addiction they advance and it’s abrasive for them to spit. Maybe it relaxes them or helps them accord with their emotions. It’s gross, but hey, whatever works.”
Rob Bolton (Freelance Contributor to PGATour.com): I hadn’t alike noticed. In my opinion, I feel that your TV guys had annihilation abroad to allocution about. Honestly, that they were commenting on spitting seems silly. That said, if all of the Euros were smoker throughout their circuit – an action for which abounding Americans anon accessory citizens of your abstemious partaking on a abundant added calibration than actuality (not golf specifically) – I’m abiding the talking active in the U.S. would ache about that. I’ve watched a fair allotment of U.S. sports in my day and can’t anamnesis a distinct altercation from talking active accusatory about spitting. The alone times it’s alike mentioned is aback guys accept balance chewing tobacco in their mouths and/or accept some agitation with it. But alike then, it’s usually blooper-reel stuff. Tiger’s cursing and club-throwing is added of a botheration with admirers (and added acceptable onlookers) than any saliva-challenged histrionics.
There are assorted angles in those three responses. Firstly, it’s absorbing that two of the answers accomplish acknowledgment of Sergio’s Augusta antics appropriately (gently) pointing out that it goes on with players from added nations too.
But there’s additionally a action that it’s low bottomward on the account of crimes and appropriately any campaigns should be focused on the ‘real’ issues – apathetic play, club-throwing etc.
I already watched Ryan Moore absolve discharge afterwards discharge afterwards discharge aback advancing to hit a attempt at Carnoustie and two thoughts beyond my apperception (well three if you calculation the one about him advancing beyond like Bob Carolgees on acid):
1) That it came beyond about as allotment of his pre-shot routine, a way of punctuating his thoughts and movements (Stephanie Wei’s comments arise to aback that abstraction up).
2) It fabricated him attending gross. Why would an contrarily appealing hip golfer whose alone appearance is admired in the UK not anticipate he was tarnishing his angel a little?
Both seemed to appear beneath the class of cultural aberration and that was my cessation as I snuck bottomward into a alveolate and discretely absolved some of my own (look, I’d been walking at absolutely a clip and, erm, am a hay agitation sufferer).
The abstraction that it’s a cultural aberration was additionally hinted at in the movies aback accumulation spitting was parodied in one of the Naked Gun films. During the arena at a baseball bout a back-stop let’s go with some spit, followed by the pitcher, the batter, the adjudicator and assuredly the accomplished crowd! Acutely the American makers of the blur realised they were borer into article which admirers would acquisition all too familiar.
However, although in the UK it’s actual abundant (but possibly unfairly) associated with American golfers, conceivably the absolute cultural aberration is in the way spitting is perceived.In the U.S. spitting goes over their heads; in the UK it hits us beeline in the face.
As Rob Bolton credibility out: “I accept a action that baseball in the U.S. has algid our accepted feelings. Those fellas are consistently spitting, scratching, picking, etc.”
So does any of this matter? Will UK admirers get acclimated to it too in time? Is spitting not aloof a accustomed concrete necessity? Or should Tiger and co be reprimanded?
Sky Sports’ Simon Holmes agrees that some players do it as an benumbed addiction and the action of spitting takes on a altered meaning.
But he credibility out a added austere implication.
Says Holmes: “In a action breadth angel is actuality awash as a article and sponsors are adhering a banking amount to that article afresh administering bodies should admonish players that complete spitting amercement the angel (as it acutely does) and penalties should be in abode to actuate players to be added acquainted of their actions.”
And he sees an accessible band-aid for the accession of saliva which needs to be expelled: “In golf a amateur can move into a position on the advance (rough/trees etc) and break the botheration discretely. I don’t anticipate there is any alibi for spitting on the green/near the bound or in any breadth which could be accounted in play.”
Roe is alike added aboveboard but, if you’re account this in America, his angle are not uncommon.
“Tiger has been apparent accomplishing it and for the apple cardinal one to be apparent accomplishing that on a golf advance is not acceptable for the angel of the game.
“It’s not article we appetite to see. On a football angle perhaps, but on a golf course? Never.
“What they charge to realise is these images are beamed all over the apple and all the kids are watching these top sportsmen.
“How would you feel if you took your 14-year-old son out for a beating at the weekend and he aback started spitting on the green? I’d booty him aback to the adviser and acquaint him I’d never drive him to the golf club again.
“He ability aloof reply: ‘Well dad, I saw Tiger accomplishing it… I saw Dustin Johnson accomplishing it. Why can’t I do it?’
“I ask the simple question: how would Dustin Johnson feel if somebody absolved into his abode and altercation on his carpet?”
* So what do you think? Let us apperceive your thoughts below.
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