Tiger Hot-dog Incident Bodes Ill for Golf

(ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.) Oct. 13, 2011 — The flying wiener and bun thrown toward Tiger Woods signals that golf has become a participatory sport of the worst sort.

The mustard-and-onions-hold-the-relish missile is the continuation of an ugly trend that started years ago with partisan chants of “U.S.A., U.S.A.,” at the Ryder Cup.

There has always been streaking by nude people at golf events — including the British Open. But while a naked butt may be thing of beauty (or not) depending on its shape, the larger trend of fans crossing the line is getting ugly.

There was the merciless heckling of Colin Montgomerie, which got so bad he stopped playing in U.S. events. In 2004, a guy was ejected from the fifth hole of Match Play Championship after following Davis Love III and shouting “No love,” every time Love stepped onto a tee box.

Now, the former No. 1 player in the world has been taunted by a fan who threw a hot dog at him at the Frys.com Championship in California. Why did he do it? Here’s what the hot-dog hurler told The Bleacher Report:

“I threw the hot dog toward Tiger Woods because I was inspired by the movie Drive,” Kelly said. “As soon as the movie ended, I thought to myself, ‘I have to do something courageous and epic. I have to throw a hot dog on the green in front of Tiger.’”

Clueless, stupid and idiotic are three words that quickly come to mind. And apparently premeditated, too, based on the guy’s Facebook photo of the actual hotdog taken in his car before the incident.

Golf used to be a spectator sport where in return for appropriate attire and demeanor, fans got close to the action — but did not become part of it, save for the occasional member of the gallery bonked by a wild tee shot.

There was polite applause, respectful silence and cheering. But hot-dog tossing?

The idea that any loser who wants to make a splash on TV feels free to do so signals that the way golf tournaments are staged may have to change, and that the faces of the people behind the ropes quickly will soon be populated by guys with guns, badges and uniforms.

And that is not a good thing for a game that is already in trouble.

–Dan Vukelich

Elsewhere:

Albuquerque’s Katie Kempter fared poorly at the Stage II of the LPGA Qualifying School in Venice, Fla., tying for 102d, four strokes short of the top 70 players, plus ties, needed to advance. She finished the 2011 LPGA Futures Tour season 51st on the money list, with 15 starts and two top 10 finishes.

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