Players happy with phone-snappy fans
A clutch of the world’s best golfers are playing to a different beat at the first Presidents Cup in Asia this week — the constant drone of cameras clicking and phones ringing.
But they agreed the antics of the enthusiastic Korean fans, trying to get pictures at every opportunity and frequently answering mobiles in breach of golf’s usual hushed oncourse etiquette, were not a problem.
“Hey, they want to take pictures of us. I guess that’s a good thing,” said U.S. team member and world No. 5 Rickie Fowler after Tuesday’s first official practice day at the Jack Nicklaus Golf Club in Incheon, South Korea.
“Usually stuff like that doesn’t bother me or the guys too much I think in practice rounds. It will be interesting come tournament play, come Thursday,” added the 26-year-old.
“I didn’t notice it too much while we were hitting,” said U.S. veteran of all 10 previous Presidents Cups Phil Mickelson. “There was so much of it, we tuned it out. I feel like it will be the same for everybody.”
South African Branden Grace said the unusually noisy crowds might give his teammates an edge on the Americans, as they play more events in Asia.
“When you come to Asia you expect it,” Grace told AFP. “As European Tour players we’ve been exposed to it a little bit more than the U.S. guys.
“You just mustn’t let it get to you. Tomorrow might be a bit more hectic out there.
“Golf is so huge in Asia and the people here just love taking photos, I don’t think there’s any other way to put it.
“It gets nuts out there sometimes but it’s fun. They all mean well.”
The frenzied atmosphere, even on the first practice day, came as a bit of a culture shock to some of the U.S. players such as Jimmy Walker, who do not venture outside the PGA Tour often.
“At the beginning today we were like, ‘Holy cow, this is unbelievable,’” Walker told AFP.
“After a while, really, there was just so much of it going on, it just becomes white noise. It’s not a big deal. It’s not like when you’re at home where one click or ring will really stand out. Here it’s just constant.
“Never once today was I thrown off by the clicks and they were going off a lot. It was fine.”