Let me ask this: If these golf voyeurs are ignored, what are the consequences? (My guess: nothing. So why open that door?)
Don’t get me wrong. I am in favor of taking advantage of technology to help players make accurate decisions about their rules decisions. But having some TV jockey or video geek making calls that affect a professional competition is just wrong. (I wonder how many calls are, indeed, wrong. We only hear about the gotcha ones.)
Hey, you football or baseball fans out there, try shooting an email in to dispute a call or a missed infraction in, say, the Super Bowl or World Series. Haha. It never happens. So how on Earth do viewing fans have the opportunity to dramatically affect the competition that golf bestows upon its viewers?
So, the looming question is this–Why is it allowed? We all have access to the technology to micromanage visual events, but it is the human element that gives our professional sports their gnarly edge. Officials, for better or worse, are absolutely part of the game. In golf, golfers are, as well.
In tennis, technology has resolved many disputes. Why not in golf? But it can’t be as random as waiting for a call-in ruling from a random viewer. This degrades the entire profession.
So how will professional golf deal with this?
In football, if a controversial event happened, yet the next play has already been launched, tough luck. Issue over. Maybe golf should adopt the “next shot” rule, where if an infraction happens, a ruling must come before the next shot is taken. After the round or the next day is just not fair.
To sum it up, my motivation is this:
(a) I hate seeing otherwise honest golfers’ judgment being trashed.
(b) I don’t want some TV geek with a 60 handicap suddenly being a respected official on the PGA Tour.
(c) I think rulings should be left up to the player’s judgment. If they request an official’s input, then TV network videos can run and errors can be detected. If amateur videos later find infractions, players will tend to be even more honest and double-check their own interpretation with the officials at the proper time, which would be before the next shot. But amateurs should be blocked from the game.
So the question is–is instant-replay (before the next shot–which can be delayed, perhaps) a part of golf? If so, let golf control it, not the general public.
Yeah, I know, this is a deep issue. But other sports have handled it well. Please, let’s get a grip on this.