News & ToursSeptember 5, 2008

Verdi: We're Being Watched at the BMW

ST. LOUIS -- Another barrier has come down in golf. First, the LPGA decreed that its member-golfers must be conversant in English by 2009 or face suspension. [The LPGA backed off today.] And now us writers discover we have to learn English, too, because we're being watched and heard.

Beside the media tent at the BMW Championship, there is a door leading to a small room where bleacher-type seats face a one-way mirror. On the other side of the glass, as they say in talk radio, is the area where players are interviewed. For absolutely no charge, spectators at Bellerive CC can meander a few yards and watch us ask questions that golfers don't want to answer.

This new wrinkle, designed to "enhance the fan experience," has gone over about as well as the FedEx Cup points system. A couple of my fellow scribes are miffed, one so acutely that he left the tournament in protest.

Apparently, neither the sponsor nor the PGA Tour sought or received approval from the Golf Writers Assn. If baseball tried to turn press boxes into fish bowls, I'm guessing journalists would be outraged.

It's the surprise element that bothers me. I came to St. Louis without anything to wear for such occasions. The good news for mopes like me is that attendance has been poor in the spectator area, which looks eerily like the waiting room for the gas chamber. You'll see more people at Thanksgiving dinner. Don't these people know? These are the playoffs!!

--Bob Verdi

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