Sky Sports golf writer Dave Tindall in London has a very long piece today that underlines the apparently still-vast cultural differences between the U.S. and the U.K.
Tindall reports on the local outrage over the on-course hygiene of pro golfers. Namely, the Brits are pissed about all the spitting.
The other general concensus is that it appears to be, shall we say, an American disease.
What baffles many UK golf fans is that it’s not just the American young bucks (i.e. Dustin Johnson, whose phlegm levels were clearly set to high during his win at Pebble Beach) who are guilty but also some of the well-to-do veterans such as ‘Gentleman’ Jim Furyk.
Tiger Woods is a serial spitter too, prompting well-known cricket commentator Jack Bannister to tell Talksport viewers last week: “Tiger’s speech lasted 13 minutes and I think it’s the longest time I’ve seen him go without spitting.”
In short, it’s become an issue. In fact, the Sky Sports Golf team have been inundated with so many e-mails on the subject that it led the show’s presenter Robert Lee to declare: “Let’s start a campaign to stamp it out.”
Says Lee: “If enough letters were written to the PGA Tour maybe it would bring enough attention to it and something could get done because it’s vile. But the Americans just don’t seem bothered about it. It doesn’t seem to register.”
Tindall goes so for to poll American golf bloggers on the subject while actually suggesting the habit could affect the PGA Tour’s bottom line.
Says Holmes: “In a sport where image is being sold as a commodity and sponsors are attaching a financial value to that commodity then governing bodies should advise players that indiscrete spitting damages the image (as it clearly does) and penalties should be in place to motivate players to be more conscious of their actions.”
All you have to do is watch Travel Channel’s Bizarre Foods to understand how something innocuous in one culture can be abhorrent in another.
So rather than dismiss our British brothers and sisters out of hand, I’ll merely point out that they, quite literally, wrote the book on this sort of thing.