Ryder Cup :: Hangers-on have got to go

2014 09 Gleneaglescrowds

There has been lots going on inside the ropes in the opening four sessions of the Ryder Cup: birdies, eagles, drama, excitement, the occasional duff, numerous fist pumps. And the people with the best view of all of this? The throngs of hangers-on traipsing after every match.

Let’s not beat about the bush here: there are way too many people inside the ropes at Gleneagles.

I went out to watch the opening shots of this afternoon’s foursomes with bunkered ed Bryce Ritchie and, from our (perfectly good) vantage point outside the ropes down the right-hand side of the first fairway, we counted (not including marshals) 95 people following match two and 91 following match three.

I know what you’re thinking: they’re all media, right? Wrong. Us writer types are easy to distinguish because we’re asked to wear red bibs to identify ourselves inside the ropes. Only five of the 95 following match two had such bibs on and just three following match two.

Which begs a reasonable question: who the hell are all these people? Let me tell you…

Yesterday, we saw former Rangers footballer Charlie Adam following Rory McIlroy and Sergio Garcia’s afternoon foursomes match with Jimmy Walker and Rickie Fowler. That’s right, Charlie Adam. At least his former teammate Lee McCulloch had the decency to stay on the right side following the same European pair today.

We also saw high-ranking PGA officials, who were there in no other capacity than to spectate, as well as former basketball player Michael Jordan (supposedly part of the American backroom staff yet, yawn, again) and various others.
I could get inside the ropes if I wanted but I don’t do it because I have no reason to be there.

Now, let me be quite clear on this: these people have absolutely no need to be there. They are abusing a privilege. For some reason, they seem to think they deserve to a better view of the golf's biggest matchplay event than the ordinary paying punter, like those pictured above. They don’t.

Remember Rory’s approach from the rough on the bank down the left of the first this afternoon? Hardly anyone on the opposite side of the fairway, where we were standing, could see it because their view was blocked by these freeloaders.

I could get inside the ropes if I wanted but I don’t do it because I don't need to. Simple as that. Sure, I’d like a better view sometimes but I’m not going to take it just because I can. That wouldn't be right. Why should someone who has spent £75 (or more) on a ticket miss out just because I want a closer look? How selfish would that be? Different if I have a particular story to pursue. Then it becomes part of the job. But when it's not, you'll find me outside the ropes, jockeying for position just like everybody else.

Augusta National has a policy of allowing only the essential people inside the ropes at The Masters: players, caddies, marshals, standard-bearers, scorers, referees and that’s about it. I’m not saying the Ryder Cup has to take it to that extreme but an application of common sense would be not just desirable but fair, too.

I mean, come on. Charlie Adam?!

Ryder Cup :: Your experiences

Have you attended either of the first two days of the Ryder Cup? How have you enjoyed it? Leave your thoughts in our 'Comments' section below.

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