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McIlroy Fans Alkohol Killing Golf

Written By: SD Reporter

Rory McIlroy wondered Saturday whether limiting alcohol sales might help curb some of the loud and abusive behavior he believes is getting worse at PGA Tour tournaments.

A month ago, McIlroy suggested that the commotion that surrounds a group following Tiger Woods cost the 14-time major champion half a shot per round.

“It’s tiring,” McIlroy said. “I’ve got a headache after all that.”

During Saturday’s third round of the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill, McIlroy again felt there were instances of poor behavior that crossed the line.

Tiger Woods is 7-under after three rounds of the Arnold Palmer Invitational. He shot a 3-under 69 on Saturday and trails leader Henrik Stenson by 5 shots.

Henrik Stenson did just enough right for a 1-under 71 to take the lead at the Arnold Palmer Invitational.

“There was one guy out there who kept yelling my wife’s name,” said McIlroy, who shot 67 on Saturday to pull within 2 shots of leader Henrik Stenson. “I was going to go over and have a chat with him. I don’t know, I think it’s gotten a little much, to be honest. I think that they need to limit alcohol sales on the course, or they need to do something because every week, it seems like guys are complaining about it more and more.”

Three weeks ago, Justin Thomas had a spectator removed during the final round of the Honda Classic because he believed the fan had gone too far, yelling at his ball to get in the rough or in the water or taunting him as he walked from a green to a tee.

Nobody has dealt with boisterous fans more than Woods, who has learned to deal with the distractions better than anyone simply out of experience. A spectator in his gallery was removed Friday for constantly yelling, including one time as Hideki Matsuyama was about to hit a shot.

“As long as they don’t yell on our golf swings, we’re fine,” Woods said. “They can be raucous. They are having a great time. It’s fun. They are having a blast, and hopefully we can execute golf shots, but as long as they don’t yell on our golf swings, everything’s cool.

“I know Phoenix,” Woods said, referring to the Waste Management Phoenix Open, “guys were telling me this year, they were yelling and trying to time it. Well, there’s really no reason to do that.”

The Phoenix tournament traditionally attracts the largest crowds in golf, including on the par-3 16th, where noise and partying are encouraged.

“I know that people want to come and enjoy themselves, and I’m all for that, but it’s when the comments get personal and people get a little bit rowdy it can get a little much,” McIlroy said. “It used to be you bring beers on the course but not liquor. And now it seems like everyone’s walking around with a cocktail. So I don’t know if it’s just go back to people walking around with beers in their hand, that’s fine, but I don’t know.”

McIlroy, who was the subject of considerable heckling at the 2016 Ryder Cup in Minnesota, said the Phoenix event is unique, and others trying to copy it have run into issues.

“They want to try and replicate that, which is great — it’s great for the tournament, it’s great for us — but golf is different than a football game, and there’s etiquette involved, and you don’t want people to be put off from bringing their kids when people are shouting stuff out,” he said. “You want people to enjoy themselves, have a good day.


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