Social Media and Golf

A Volatile Mix

The toughest thing the PGA Tour players are facing these days isn’t the fast greens or the countless bunkers that lie ahead. Maybe this used to be true, but now they have to delve into a whole other world – social media. Scroll through your Twitter feed and you will find endless amounts of emotional responses, pictures, videos and outrageous rumors about the most current event happening.

Even those who are not big into social media or don’t really understand how Facebook or Twitter or Instagram work have to understand the impact such media has on the world today. Whether a player is talking about what he had for lunch today or how stupid another player is, social media has transformed the sports world just as it has transformed the world as a whole.

That certainly seemed to be the case at the Players Championship over the weekend. It seemed at pretty much every turn, something was happening that was either caused by a social media outrage or required someone to use social media for a response. Many try to nitpick these players, hoping to catch them doing something ridiculous.

Such as with the case with Billy Horschel who was caught on video tossing a wedge at his bag or perhaps at his caddie standing near the bag. Social media erupted at what appeared to be Horschel’s temper tantrum and lack of sportsmanship.

https://twitter.com/Brad_Reynoldss/status/863136021797629952

Horschel’s answer? Well, he posted a video on Twitter in response. Horschel claimed that the club toss was all in fun and that he and his caddie are on great terms. But he admitted that looking at the video later, he understood how some people might have taken it wrong way. Sometimes, you have to fight social media with social media.

“Cleaning the air. Take it or leave it. #truth”

Then there was Grayson Murray and the incident at the Wells Fargo Championship where he fired his caddie on the 9th hole after an altercation, leading to a massive outrage that spread like wildfire across Twitter. Many were angry because of the way he handled the situation.

The world as we know it is changing drastically because of the devices and platforms we have so readily available at our fingertips. The game of golf will never be the same quiet and respectable sport that it once used to represent. Nothing is simple anymore because everything is now transparent via social media, although I believe it’s something that can be embraced eventually.

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