ATLANTA — An updated fan conduct policy could see spectators ejected from PGA Tour events for disrespectful behavior, including shouts of “Brooksy” that have gained considerable attention recently because of an ongoing spat between Bryson DeChambeau and Brooks Koepka.
“Fans who breach our code of conduct are subject to expulsion from the tournament and loss of their credential or ticket,” commissioner Jay Monahan said during a news conference at East Lake Golf Club, where the season-ending Tour Championship begins Thursday.
“Now, I would ask our fans, again, the very best fans in the world, to take a moment and think about what it means to be a golf fan and to enjoy a PGA Tour tournament. We’re going to be leaders in this space. We’re going to show everyone how easy it is to enjoy yourself at an event while also respecting the athletes in the field of play and the fans around you, many of whom are families with young kids who have a chance to be lifetime fans of the game themselves.
“Quite honestly, we should expect nothing less from each other, whether we’re at a golf tournament or elsewhere in life.”
Asked specifically about the taunts that have dogged DeChambeau for the past several months, Monahan said it would qualify for being ejected.
“The barometer that we are all using is the word ‘respect,’ and to me, when you hear ‘Brooksy’ yelled or you hear any expression yelled, the question is, is that respectful or disrespectful,” Monahan said. “That has been going on for an extended period of time. To me, at this point, it’s disrespectful, and that’s the kind of behavior and we’re not going to tolerate going forward.”
Monahan said he has spoken to both DeChambeau and Koepka, but the policy monitoring fan behavior predates their spat, which escalated in May at the PGA Championship, where an unaired video of Koepka showing contempt for DeChambeau went viral, leading to months of back-and-forth banter.
It has included a significant amount of taunting of DeChambeau, who at first appeared to embrace it but has become increasingly distracted by it, including on Sunday at the BMW Championship, where he lost in a playoff to Patrick Cantlay and had a brief confrontation with a fan afterward before calling for security, according to ESPN’s Kevin Van Valkenburg.
“It’s something that I’ve talked to not only those two players, but a lot of our players about,” Monahan said. “It’s something I’ve talked to our partners in the industry about, and we have all agreed that together we have got to come together and demonstrate what is truly exceptional about our game. And if you go back to the history of the game, the values of honor, integrity, respect that have been central fabric to the game since the point in time, our expectation is that that’s what we’re going to experience at our tournaments.”
Monahan made several other announcements:
Purses will increase by $35 million in the 2021-22 season, an 18% increase. The new season begins in two weeks at the Fortinet Championship in Napa, California.
The Zozo Championship will be played outside of Tokyo as scheduled, the fifth event of the 2021-22 schedule, Oct. 21-24. Last year’s event was relocated to California because of the coronavirus pandemic. *The WGC-HSBC Champions in China, scheduled for the week following Zozo, is being canceled for the second consecutive year. The Bermuda Championship, played the same week, will be elevated to full FedEx Cup status and the winner will receive a Masters invitation.
Monahan said there so far are no plans to restart COVID-19 testing among players, caddies and officials at tournaments because of vaccination levels that top 80% among players, caddies, staff and officials. “But if we have learned one thing, things could change with pandemic,” Monahan said.