| LYTHAM ST ANNES, England, July 21
LYTHAM ST ANNES, England, July 21 Golfing great
Gary Player says British Open organisers should ditch their
policy of allowing mobile phones on site, which is irritating
players and marshals.
Crowds following 14-times major champion Tiger Woods around
Lytham on Friday forced the American to back off several shots
during his second round, much to the dismay of South African
"It's tough on the marshals. They've got to be detectives as
well as direct crowds and keep them quiet?" the nine-times major
champion told Reuters on Saturday as the third round began.
"Augusta just say nobody brings a cellphone in and boy, you
don't take one in. You just don't see it," he added in reference
to the Masters, the year's first major in April.
British Open organisers the Royal & Ancient banned the use
of mobile phones on site after Woods won his most recent of
three Opens at Hoylake in 2006.
They announced in April that phones would be permitted at
the Lancashire links but marshals are having to work double time
as they try to stop paying fans photographing their golfing
"We understand there will be concerns over this change in
policy but will be liaising with spectators at the Championship
to ensure calls are not taking place near play," R&A chief
executive Peter Dawson said earlier this year.
With the growth of smart phones however almost every modern
mobile has an inbuilt camera.
Though more discreet than a professional camera there is no
denying their inconvenience, Woods's caddie Joe LaCava and
hawk-eyed marshals constantly scanning the masses to warn people
photography is not allowed.
"You've got to do what they do at the Masters, it's very
simple. It's a matter of organisation," said Player, munching on
The 76-year-old fitness fanatic, nicknamed the 'Black
Knight' for his all-black outfits, said players generally learn
to deal with cameras but it is not easy.
"Top of your backswing and a guy clicks, the fact that
you've heard it means that your mind has been directed to that
particular point," the 1974 Lytham champion said.
"It makes it tough."
Player recalled that he too had to back off shots "lots and
lots of times" during his prime from his first major win at the
British Open in 1959 to his final major, the 1978 Masters.
"When I was practising I had people around me to scream and
shout," he said, having moved on to an avocado.
Player did not lament the increasing amount of media that
follow players especially at the year's four major
"If you don't have the media, you don't have a tour, and you
don't have sponsors.
"I was always lectured as a young man growing up that we had
to survive. There wasn't money. So I never turned an interview
down," said Player, who has travelled enormous distances
throughout his career to promote the sport.
(Edited by Alastair Himmer)