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Respect spectators- they pay your wages!

Thursday, June 27, 2019
Matt Fitzpatrick

Tony spoke to former Reuters golf correspondent Tony Jimenez about some on-course issues he has been disappointed to witness:

“Fans pay a lot of money these days to come out and watch top-level golf and the least the players could do is acknowledge the fact that they are there.

Matt Fitzpatrick is right up there in the mix in a lot of tournaments but I’m not sure he endears himself too much to the galleries. People were applauding him as he was walking on to the green in the final round of last week’s BMW International in Germany and he didn’t react at all.

He was busy talking to his caddie and didn’t even put up his hand and wave. I’m sure Matt is a decent guy but I wonder sometimes what gets into the head of these fellows. He completely ignored the fans and I thought, apart from anything else, it was bloody bad manners. I guess, though, that if that’s the way he wants to move forward, it’s up to him.

I wasn’t sure about Matt Wallace’s behaviour either. He’s a very good player with a terrific swing and he was unlucky to miss out on a Ryder Cup wildcard last year. But he seems to me to have a very short fuse. I shall observe with interest what he does going forward to see whether that aspect of his temperament holds him back or not.

I don’t think losing your rag when there are millions of people watching on television does much for your public image. I also noticed a video doing the rounds on social media of his disagreement with his caddie last week.

I’m not sure the two Matts are going out of their way to endear themselves to people in the way that Rickie Fowler, for example, does, or Jordan Spieth. Those two seem to spend a lot of time with fans, signing autographs, that sort of thing.

That’s an important part of the game when you are performing in front of the public. If I was advising them as part of a management company, or as an agent, I would point out that it’s something that matters in the long term. How you come across to the fans is important because ultimately they are the people who pay your wages.

In my day, players like Arnold Palmer, Lee Trevino and Chi Chi Rodriguez were loved by the public. Lee and Chi Chi were almost out there performing purely for the public. They both went out of their way to be liked.

It’s still a basic, fundamental thing. If you are in the public eye it’s important to present yourself well. I also completely fail to understand the modern penchant for going out on the course without having shaved in the morning.

Maybe some of the players think it’s cool. I don’t. It’s not a subject that is talked about a lot these days but presenting yourself to the watching world in the way you want to be remembered in years to come is so important as far as I’m concerned.”