This week, the Quail Hollow Championship dominates news in Charlotte. Among the old social elite, the focus is on Tiger. Among the new social elite, the focus is on the no-phone policy at the tournament. You weren’t even allowed to bring a phone into the practice rounds. You could bring a camera, but no phone. The justification is simple – golfers need to focus intently. And a Nickelback ringtone during a Phil Mickelson’s backswing, just won’t cut it. And even if they just said ‘turn your ringers off,’ they’d still have to contend with loud cell phone talker. Because, as we all know, if dude is on a sales call or on a call with the Mercedes shop, dude’s talking loud. Dude doesn’t care if Lefty is teeing off in a pro-am. So that’s why they banned phones. Not for fear of social media. In fact, they’ve got people tweeting from the course. They like social media.
Except, our phones aren’t just our phones. They’re our cameras, our email correspondence, our data clouds, our GPS to check distance to the flag and of course our wireless portals to our digital networks. If I had to guess, I’d say that 5% of the usage on my iPhone is actually to talk with people. But very few people can’t be trusted to carry phones during golf events. Even if that means surrendering a TON of free publicity from people who would no doubt be tweeting and facebooking from the course. Eventually, I expect a compromise – or at least the invention of a wireless app that allows the course to shut down the phone portion of your mobile device.
On the other hand, the “GET IN THE HOLE!” guy gets a free pass. Which makes me wonder what would happen if he yelled, “BUY A BUICK!” instead? Why hasn’t anyone done this yet? “BEN AND JERRYS!” “DURALAST!” That’s live TV, man. Tons of impressionable ears there. It’s all about the numbers, right? Pay me 5K, and I’m doing it.