When a heckler spoils it all

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Justin Thomas

Mugove Chigada
Golf professionals are often enraged when a fan turns heckler.

Yet, with how golf has evolved, there is nothing top players can do about the atmosphere now created at major events. Anything can happen at critical moments.

And when Justin Thomas was disturbed at the Honda Classic recently, he was infuriated and lost his cool, immediately signalling that the golf fan be ejected.

This heckler had shouted at his ball saying “get in the bunker”.

Although Thomas later apologised to his fans, there was already a backlash. His reaction had angered some of his followers.

“Getting a lot of comments on the fan incident yesterday . . . sorry to any and all offended by it. There was more said as we walked to the tee wishing bad things on the course for myself or Luke. Then the get in the bunker comment over and over again I felt,” he responded through twitter.

Hopes were his apology could help avoid more heckling at future tournaments.

It is not something new to golf, but Thegolfnewsnet went an extra mile to list the five worst hecklers at major tours.

They concluded that “the worst kind of heckler is the one that knows you well and “the one that knows nothing about you”.

“They know your secrets, your best and worst behaviour and what can really tick you off.”

A heckler without much information tried to distract former number one Tiger Woods at the 2013 US Open during the practice round.

Scott Vincent

“Waffle House!” He shouted. “The fan (was) alluding, he thinks, to where Woods had a rendezvous affair with a waitress.” The restaurant was instead Perkins.

It is easy for certain comments to stretch the player’s patience.

And it further explained why he made such a decision that he now regrets.

“It was very understandable to have him escorted out. I never want to lose fans, or have people root against me. I just didn’t see a place for that particular person to be yelling at us things that weren’t necessary over and over again. I over reacted,” he said.

“(I) should not have had him kicked out. I feel bad for it, but was more doing so because again I felt the stuff he was saying was completely unnecessary. I love all my fans…”

Steve Hofstetter of Golfdigest gives the impression that of all other sporting disciplines, golf list deserves such elements.

Understandably so given that the sport is classy and has a number of great virtues.

“Hecklers — people who buy tickets to a show just to ruin it — are an occupational hazard of being a comedian. Pro golfers might be the only people who have it worse,” Hofstetter said.

Meanwhile, Scott Vincent is Zimbabwe’s trump card at the Tshwane Open set for Pretoria Country Club from March 1 to 4.

Marc Cayeux and Mark Williams were also part of the entries for the Sunshine Tour event co-sanctioned with the European Tour.

Feedback: Email—chigadam@gmail.com

Twitter—@mugovechigada

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