EVIAN-LES-BAINS, FRANCE | So Yeon Ryu was the first of the women professionals to follow such as Ernie Els and Russell Knox in praising 22-year-old Scottish pro Robert MacIntyre for giving Kyle Stanley a telling-off. Stanley twice hit into the crowds during the Open Championship at Royal Portrush without bothering to call “Fore.” It was only after he had hit MacIntyre’s caddie’s mother on the arm on what was the second of the two occasions that MacIntyre had been unable to contain his annoyance.
McIntyre admitted that he had not let Stanley off lightly. “Aye,” he said, “there were harsh words. It wasn’t too pleasant but you’ve got to tell him he’s not right. He didn’t take it well at all.”
Ryu, a two-time major winner, said that MacIntyre deserved nothing but congratulations for what he did: “Bearing in mind his age, I thought he was very brave,” Ryu said. “He did the right thing.”
When Ryu’s caddie, Michael Paterson, suggested that 95 percent of the women would call, Ryu felt that that was probably about right, “though I have to say that I haven’t come across anyone in that other 5 per cent.”
Paterson said that he has been an inveterate caller since the day he saw Karrie Webb hit someone in the face. “Karrie yelled, but it goes without saying that she and everyone else still felt terrible about what had happened.”
Sue Witters, VP of rules and competitions for the LPGA, said that she had never known a time when the women haven’t made an appropriate yell. As far as she was concerned, they could not be faulted on that score.
“When you’ve done something like he did you’re in the wrong. You haven’t got a leg to stand on.” – Tiffany Joh
David Brooker, caddie to Jin Young Ko, and a man who has worked on both the LPGA and PGA tours, thought that it was 50-50 as to whether a man would call “Fore!”
“The bigger names know that hitting into a wall of spectators can work to their advantage, with the ball bouncing back. Mind you, it would be unfair to suggest that all of the bigger names are guilty.”
Jaye Marie Green, who has her brother, Matt, on the bag, conceded that there had been times when she has yelled and someone has walked into her wildly struck shot as a result. “That, though, didn’t stop me from calling. If I were ever to hit someone and hurt them, I’d never sleep again if I hadn’t called. It’s so dangerous that it should be a rule of golf if you don’t, especially with the speed at which the men hit the ball.”
Tiffany Joh spoke along much the same lines. “It’s rare that girls hit into crowds, partly because the crowds aren’t as big as they are on the men’s tour and partly because the women hit pretty straight. However, it still happens and of course you have to draw attention to it when it does. It’s better than the alternative. You’d never forgive yourself if you hurt someone and you’d just stood there doing nothing.”
On the subject of the Stanley incident and the player’s refusal to feel bad about what he had done, Joh said there were no two ways about it. “When you’ve done something like he did you’re in the wrong,” she said. “You haven’t got a leg to stand on.”
Caroline Hedwall, who is shaping to make the European Solheim Cup side, said it was “a given” that you would call “Fore!,” while Pauline Roussin-Bouchard, a French amateur playing at the Evian, said that the importance of shouting out had been dinned into her since the day she started to play.
“I yell ‘Fore!’ very loudly,” she said. Indeed, so strongly did she feel on the subject that you had the feeling that she would happily have given a demonstration had it been asked of her.
Stacy Lewis warns the gallery after a tee shot during the first round of this year’s U.S. Women’s Open. Photo: Chris Keane, Copyright USGA
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