tarting at next month’s Honda Classic, the PGA Tour will permit cell phones at events. Apparently experiments with the rule at five tournaments over the last year have been successful. The Tour will permit the sending and receiving of text messages and emails, and making calls in designated areas. Photography and video still are not permitted, although I am certain it will be rampant.
I’m certain that inside the halls of the PGA Tour they were having the same argument that my colleagues and I have been holding in the teacher’s lounge about the ubiquitous devices. One the one hand, we feel the need to preserve “sanctity” of the classroom, but on the other, we can’t figure out how to stem the tide. There always seem to be two factions in the discussions. One side wants to crack down, suspending students every time we see a phone. The other argues for lenience, allowing use in designated areas. I’ll bet the Tour had identical discussions.
For my part, I think the phones have become so much a part of the culture that trying to ban them is an exercise in futility. Phones currently are banned from school, but everyone has them. If we started patting students down and suspending everyone who had a phone, most of the student body would be on a three day vacation. So in practical terms, what we do is write disciplinary referrals for the students who are blatantly using them and ignore the phones hanging from belts or protruding from pockets.
In similar fashion, I think the Tour has bowed to the inevitable. Recognizing that people have them at tournaments anyway, the only recourse is to try to regulate their use. Patrons who become a nuisance with their electronic device will be tossed out the gates, just as students who use their devices get suspended. It’s hard to abandon tradition, though, whether in the classroom or on the course.