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PGA bans caddie races at two events
I’ll be honest, prior to reading this Golf Channel report about caddie races being banned at TPC Scottsdale and the Colonial, I was not aware that caddy races existed.
But now that I've seen them in all their glory, I’m convinced that the PGA Tour is making a big mistake:
As if it’s not bad enough that the Tour is doing away with a tradition that brings a little levity to the golf course — yeah yeah yeah, gentleman’s game, reverence, blah blah blah, whatever — the Tour’s excuse for banning the fun and games makes things even worse.
"It was a situation where we developed a little concern about caddies' safety," PGA vice president and chief of operations Andy Pazder told GolfChannel.com. "Running 150 yards puts caddies at risk for injury.'"
Wait, what? Now, I understand that professional golfers are not always the finest athletes. Just look at these guys — they’re not exactly fitness buffs:
Here's hoping Kiradech Aphibarnrat wins the PGA. Throw some much-needed Gangnam Style into pro golf. pic.twitter.com/1Xx34wZOec— Jack McCallum (@McCallum12) August 9, 2013
Greatest golfing picture I've ever seen. The man himself, John Daly pic.twitter.com/P10ue7Ri— Matt Stankowski (@mattstankowski) November 25, 2012
But are we really getting to a point where we are truly concerned that running 150 yards presents some immediate danger to the safety of the caddies? Next thing we know, the Tour will be forcing golfers to ride in carts and use suction cups on the end of putters so they don’t risk a back injury by bending over to pick the ball up out of the cup.
Golf needs all the help it can get to keep fans interested, and these races seem to serve a role — however small — in accomplishing just that. If the suits on the Tour are going to ban caddie races on the grounds that it makes a mockery of the sport, I can disagree with their opinion while respecting their right to have it.
But if they’re going to make it an issue of safety, maybe they should also reconsider having guys stand in the sun for hours and carry heavy golf bags for miles at a time in the first place.