14 Dec 2019 | Professional golf |
HAYES: No winners in ugly crowd clash
by Mark Hayes
There's never a winner when someone involved in a sporting contest has a physical clash with a fan.
And if the truth in Patrick Reed's caddie clashing with a crowd member at a packed Royal Melbourne is ever fully revealed, it won't be any different this time.
Let's work on some not-at-all-stretched assumptions ... that the fan behaved badly and that poor play (Reed has been winless in his first three matches this week) creates tension for the athlete and his entourage.
Neither said fan nor Kessler Karain is 100 per cent to blame, nor 100 per cent faultless.
You'd have to walk a lot of kilometres in Karain's shoes to vaguely comprehend the vitriol that has been directed at Reed after his well documented adventures in a Bahamian bunker last week.
You can rightly argue there should never be a place to verbally abuse an athlete, let alone aggressively swear right in their face.
But there aren't many golden rules you MUST adhere to if you're a player, or in his inner circle.
And at the top of that list, without doubt, is "don't get physical".
As tough as it might be to resist once you're abused, walk on.
If it's vile and repulsive, your option is to ask security or police to remove the buffoon yelling at you.
Even if you're engaged physically, the fight shouldn't be yours ... as much as you might want it to be.
Karain, who has been relieved of Reed's bag for the final singles matches, claimed that his job was to "protect your player" in a statement he released to several American media outlets.
"We have been known for having fun with some good banter, but after hearing several fans in Australia for three days, some had taken it too far."
OK, Kessler, fair enough. So call security.
"I got off the cart and shoved him, said a couple (of) things, probably a few expletives."
Oh, Kessler, you've just degenerated to the low-rent level of your accuser.
"I don't think there's one caddie I know that could blame me."
Go and talk to Matt Kuchar's caddie ... seriously.
In short, there's no excuse.
Perhaps none of this would ever have happened had Patrick Reed taken a different tack in dealing with his bunker dramas of last week.
The court of public opinion had made its "ruling" in the Reed saga.
Once that's occurred, no amount of argy-bargy will soothe the beast; but even a modicum of self-awareness from Reed would ease its impact.
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