News & ToursAugust 14, 2015

No photo for you! Meet Whistling Straits' Mobile Device Enforcement squad

HAVEN, Wis. -- At this year's British Open, Jordan Spieth and his caddie, Michael Greller, were bombarded with cell phone and photo clicks, many occurring in the midst of Spieth's backswing. Spieth and Greller, ever the gentlemen, politely asked the gallery to knock it off, but as the tournament went on, you could tell the issue was wearing on the duo. (By the way, thank God Stevie Williams wasn't on Spieth's bag. There would have been an international incident.)

Through early-morning play on Friday, Spieth, as well as other players at the PGA Championship, have not encountered any shutter-snapping sounds. And they won't for the rest of the weekend, either.

To combat this growing problem, the PGA of America has banned photo-taking for the Kohler, Wisconsin event. This is not a particularly innovative strategy. Augusta National prohibits mobile electronics for the Masters; the USGA just allowed cell phones at the U.S. Open for the first time in tournament history this year.

What makes this guideline unique at Whistling Straits is its administration. Meet the Mobile Device Policy Enforcement unit.


Each group of players at the PGA Championship will be guarded by members of this squad. Some of the marquee groups are given four cell-phone soldiers.

Their objective is simple: to seize any and all cameras used by the gallery in the midst of tournament play.

To clarify, fans are allowed to have cell phones on the Whistling Straits premises, but they can only use them in designated areas away from the action. If they try to push the limits of this allowance, the justice is swift.

Throughout the first two days, many fans complained -- to deaf ears, we might add -- about having their phones snatched from their grasps. The mobile unit is no-nonsense, unbiased and unwavering in this enforcement. Bend the policy, pay the price.

The instruments are eventually returned to their owners, but only once they leave for the day.

And for that, we say "it's about time." If you're a fan, you should be enjoying the beautiful weather and outstanding golf, not worrying about grabbing a blurred pic of Tiger Woods walking down the fairway to post to your Instagram feed that has eight followers.

History will be made this weekend at Whistling Straits. Luckily for the golfers, it will be their play, not the patrons, that will do the documenting.

(Special thanks to Stephen Hennessey for providing the photos.)

Follow @JoelMBeall


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