Fore Golfers Network 56 – Golf Fans Behaving Badly


Download Episode!

Welcome to Episode 56 of the Fore Golfers Network Podcast!

This week we welcome (7:150) NBC/Golf Channel’s Mark Rolfing to lead off a discussion about the behavior of golf fans and how players should (or shouldn’t) react. At the Honda Classic, Just Thomas caused quite a firestorm when he had a heckling fan ejected. How should it have been handled? In addition to Rolfing, we’re joined by several of YOU, our listeners and social followers, to get all sides of the debate.

So, enjoy this conversation starring Mark Rolfing and FGN audience members!

 Special note: We’re thrilled to welcome a new sponsor to FGN – Health IQ. They offer up to 33% savings on life insurance for those who have an active, healthy lifestyle…so the golf community is a great fit! There’s no cost or obligation for you to see if you qualify for big savings, so check out and help yourself save money while also helping us!


FGN is hosted by Bill Hobson, a diehard golfer and longtime host of Michigan Golf Live TV/Radio. Learn more about Bill by visit


We want to hear from you with comments and suggestions for making the podcast even better, so please don’t hesitate to reach out via TwitterFacebook, or EMail… and please be sure to share FGN with other golfers in your world!



  1. I just listened to your recent podcast regrading golf fans. You need to remember that how Bubba Watson encouraged the fans to clap, scream and yell DURING his swing at the Ryder Cup a few years ago. SOME players can handle it and SOME can’t. The same goes with the Waste Management’s 16th hole. While it seems that all the players enjoy it, I’m sure that off the record you would get some interesting answers.

    My belief is that the players need to remember that golf has become a spectator sport and their winnings reflect it. If it wasn’t for Tiger driving the popularity for the game there wouldn’t be the prize money available, consequently if came at a price.

    There still needs to be respect for the players while they are making their swings. On the other hand, regarding before and after however, players need to be tougher skinned and understand that they have been elevated to entertainers and are paid handsomely for their time. ALL professional sports need to understand that because of the amount of money they make they are under the microscope and their every move is under scrutiny. If golfers want to be completely insulated they need to return to their elitist country clubs risking the demise of their wealth.

    Golf is rapidly approaching many challenges. From the interactiveness of fans to the cost of the game to the obsolescence of classic courses the game of golf needs to recognize these as well s many other obstacles to keep the game form declining.

    My 2¢

    • Bob – Thanks for your thoughtful comment and for listening to the podcast. Keep in mind the vast differences between a Ryder Cup setting and weekly Tour event, and the difference between a player asking for the crowd to rev up vs incessant heckling from a drunken buffoon. Golf at the professional level truly is a spectator sport, but it should rise above the other crowd sports in decorum and civility. My guess is that if he had a chance to do it over again, JT might have reacted differently. Sadly, I doubt the fan would change a thing.

  2. I appreciate your response. I am not sure there is that much difference between the Ryder Cup and weekly tour events. Do you see any difference between the US Open and the weekly tour event? All golf events that represent the professional in my mind are the same other than the awareness to the occasional golf fan. I do agree that there are defenses between a player asking for the crowd to rev up and the interaction of a fan. I am not sure that I would automatically assume that the fan in question was drunk. He may have just been expressing his dislike for JT. Tour golfers for the most part, have lived privileged lives at exclusive country clubs and have been isolated to environments that challenge them, the antithesis of NBA players that have been challenged their entire lives and developed thick skins. Recently JT mentioned how hard it was to play with Rory and Tiger because of the distractions that have come with the game. It its quite apparent that Tiger has been able to develop a way to focus beyond the comments before and after his shots. Tiger Woods had created a whole new culture for golf and its expectance as a main stream sport around the world.

    Again, as I stand earlier, professional golf can’t have it both ways. They can’t expect sponsors to value the sport and its growth outside the ropes without realizing the baggage it comes with regarding more fans results in a more vocal fan. Tour golfers have to understand that they are no different than any other extremely highly paid professional athletes. As they say “if you can’t handle the heat, get out of the kitchen.”

    JT as well as others, have to understand that they are looked up to as a roll model wether they like it or not. His F bomb is not as rare as you may think, it just so happened to be on camera. I ‘m sure there are many cases that are experienced that are not on camera that are just as unprofessional. Have heard Tiger make colorful comments and several occasions where announcers have had to cover for him. If you want to have the respect form the fans then act professional and under control. Otherwise they can’t expect the prize money and most importantly the game of golf to grow. The PGA Tours are the brand ambassadors for golf and have to understand that that goes with the territory.

  3. The Presidents Cup and the Ryder Cup are exceptions in the world of professional sport because players do not receive prize money despite contests being high-profile and bringing in substantial sponsorship and television revenue. European Ryder Cuppers do not receive any prize money, but they receive gifts from their captains funded by the Ryder Cup pool.

Leave A Reply