Reigning Masters champion Patrick Reed was preparing to play a hole at the Porsche European Open in Hamburg, Germany when he and his caddy heard a noise from the camera crew standing directly behind them — and then justice came swiftly.
What the heck is going on here?
Reed was about to chip up onto the 10th green when a cameraman apparently started jingling change in his pocket. Reed’s caddy went all-in on the guy, and when Reed got involved, well, that was that for our poor change-jangling cameraman. He got the boot, leaving only the poor sound guy there to capture Reed’s disgusted “Ridiculous.”
Reed would go on to par that hole but bogey the next one. He finished his round at -2, four strokes behind clubhouse leader Bryson DeChambeau.
Why do golfers react so badly to noise?
Every time a moment like this comes up, plenty of people with little knowledge of golf (or acoustics) will pop off with the same gripe: “Why do these divas need silence? Baseball players hit fastballs in noisy stadiums!” (Just watch. Guarantee you someone who didn’t read this far will show up with that angle in the comments below.) And without excusing the galactic sense of privilege quite a few golfers carry with them, the “why can’t they handle noise” angle misses a basic point of how sound works.
See, it’s not the sound itself that’s the issue — it’s the sudden change in sound. Golfers could play just fine with the white noise of a crowd behind them. But when you’re in the midst of silence, a sudden sound — even a tiny one like rattling change — is like a concentration-fragmenting air horn. You’ve seen college basketball crowds go insane, trying to rattle opposing foul shooters? If they wanted to really throw the guy off, they’d go absolutely stone silent right as he was about to release. That’d be worse than more noise for destroying focus.
Golf has a long history of fools baba-booey’ing their way onto a broadcast, but it generally happens after the ball’s already in the air. When it doesn’t, as with Tiger Woods at the British Open this past Sunday, the justifiable condemnation comes fast and furious.
Now, granted, you can decide for yourself whether Reed was being a bit of a prima donna by kicking the camera crew to the curb. But when you consider the fact that a single stroke on Thursday can mean a difference of hundreds of thousands of dollars in tournament winnings on Sunday, suddenly demanding a little silence doesn’t seem so extreme.
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