Rory McIlroy has been scrutinized under the brightest lights golf has to offer over his more-than-a-decade on Tour, so he is one of the most qualified to speak on the nature of unruly fans out on Tour.
In light of recent fan interactions in the NBA, in which fans have gotten into it with players on the court, McIlroy was asked prior to his start this week at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play about unruly fan behavior on the PGA Tour.
Never one to shy away from his opinions, and as someone who has shared them on the subject in the past, McIlroy explained where he draws the line and sees some unfair advantages.
“I think one of the wonderful things about PGA Tour events — golf events, in general — is a lot of kids come out to watch,” he began. “It’s great for the game. They’re the future. So I think profanity is one thing, if you’ve got guys that are shouting obscenities and swear words and stuff and there’s kids around, I think that isn’t cool.
“It’s not fair when only a handful of guys are subjected to that in the field and the other guys can just go about their business.”
— GOLF.com (@GOLF_com) March 28, 2019
“Then there’s other stuff. They start to shout the players’ private life, that crosses the line, as well, deliberately rooting against someone or trying to get in their head, I think that’s another thing.
“Look, that might be acceptable in terms of a basketball player going to shoot a couple of free throws and people are making noise or whatever, that’s acceptable in their game. But it’s not fair when only a handful of guys are subjected to that in the field and the other guys can just go about their business. So I think that would be a point if it were to come to that where you might want to try to either get security to tell the guys to settle down or to remove them.”
McIlroy has been outspoken on the subject before.
One of his first forays into the murky waters came at the Ryder Cup in 2016 when shouts about his private life led to fans being kicked out of the event.
Rory McIlroy confronts fan, says to remove him. No physical contact. Marshal tells me fan to be removed immediately. pic.twitter.com/namR3844jX
— Christine Brennan (@cbrennansports) October 1, 2016
More recently, McIlroy publicly wondered aloud if the PGA Tour should put a limit on alcohol sales at events because of the rowdy nature of the crowds.
I think it’s gotten a little much, to be honest,” McIlroy said at last year’s Arnold Palmer Invitational. “I think that they need to limit alcohol sales on the course, or they need to do something because every week, it seems like guys are complaining about it more and more.”