Watching this week’s Irish Open, I was reminded of one of those sporting situations that can really turn sour, where golf etiquette is brought into question. I’m referring to the cheers that followed any errant Robert Rock shot in the closing stages at County Louth Golf Club as he went down to worthy winner, amateur Shane Lowry.
Golf is a sport that prides itself on good manners yet apparently its spectators – a large proportion of who must be accustomed to golf’s reputation as the standard bearer of sporting etiquette – sometimes need to be reminded of this.
Was cheering Rock’s ball as it scuttled into the bunker on the 18th hole acceptable? What about when the Englishman missed his nine-footer for the title? It reminded me a little of the days when ‘Henmania’ compelled tennis fans to shout for joy when Tim’s rival double-faulted or slapped one into the net on Centre Court.
On this occasion, let’s just hope the fans were suffering from a temporary condition, ‘Shanemania’ perhaps. Local favourite and mere amateur or not, cheering a fellow competitor’s misfortune is unacceptable. After all, what would have happened if Rock had given it a fist pump when Lowry missed a three-footer in regulation play?