The R&A has issued a statement reminding spectators attending the Open Championship to keep their phones on silent and not take pictures.
The missive was circulated this afternoon after several players were forced to back off shots on the opening morning of this year’s championship at Royal Liverpool because of noises from the crowd
Predictably, Tiger Woods was one of the worst affected players and he made his frustrations clear after his round.
“People were taking pictures,” he said. “There were a lot of cameras out there. We were backing off a lot of shots. It was tough. Unfortunately, people just don’t put their phones on silent.”
Pressed to elaborate, Woods added: “Just put it on silent. Just put it on silent.”
Soon thereafter, a statement was released by Johnnie Cole-Hamilton, the Executive Director of Championships for the R&A.
“We urge all our spectators to keep their phones on silent." - Johnnie Cole-Hamilton
“We are delighted to have big crowds here enjoying the golf and I know there are many fans here who are experiencing the Open for the first time this week,” he is quoted as saying. “We urge them and all our spectators to keep their phones on silent and remind them that taking photographs on championship days is not permitted.”
The situation has echoes of the 2006 Open at Hoylake. On that occasion, Woods also complained about the use of the devices, prompting the R&A to ban spectators from carrying mobiles at the event. That ban, however, was repealed in 2012, when the organisation issued its mobile phone management policy, entitling fans to take their phones to the event but only use them in dedicated ‘Phone Zones’.
Royal Navy Marshals are travelling with selected groups to ensure spectators adhere to the policy.
The message, therefore, is clear: if you are planning to attend the Open over the next three days, don’t let your phone ruin the experience for you, your fellow fans, or, worse still, the players.
The R&A’s stance on mobiles - what do you think?
Do you think the R&A is right to allow mobile phones at the Open? Are players too sensitive to their use? Or should they be banned once and for all? Leave your thoughts in our ‘Comments’ section below.