Augusta National is perhaps the last place left in the country where you won’t see a cell phone at a sporting event.
Not from golfers. Not from fans. Not from the media. Nobody.
Or, at least you’re not supposed to.
Even as the rest of the PGA Tour and golf world has relaxed their phone use policy at events, The Masters has held strong — yet another thing that sets the famed tournament apart.
With The Masters supposed to have taken place next week, before it was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Golfweek surveyed dozens of PGA Tour golfers with a simple question: Have you ever taken your phone onto the golf course?
Some of their answers, like current World No. 1 Rory McIlroy’s, were fantastic.
“It’s always on silent. I swear,” McIlroy told Golfweek, admitting that he has his phone in his bag most of the time. “And if I ever take it out, it’s like taking drugs out of your pocket, or something like that.
“I’m kidding. I don’t have drugs, but you know what I mean.”
Others, like 2007 champion Zach Johnson even whipped out his phone mid-round to make a call — though it was for good reason.
“I used it on purpose on the 14th hole because I thought I broke my 9-iron on Wednesday underneath the grip,” Johnson told Golfweek. “So I called the reps. One of the green jackets came up to me and said, ‘Hey, best not use your cell phone anymore.’ I knew the rule but the manufacturers leave on Wednesday and if I don’t get this done, I’m done. Desperate measures.”
Kevin Kisner, like more and more people these days, always has his phone on him.
Yet when the 36-year-old plays at The Masters, he takes extra precautions.
“I take my phone with me everywhere,” he told Golfweek. “It always goes off, but I’m not an old person so I never have it on ring. And it has never, ever made a ring sound at Augusta National.”
It’s not yet clear when The Masters will take place, though officials are reportedly looking at playing it in November — as long as both the coronavirus outbreak is under control and scheduling elsewhere in the golf world falls into place.
Whenever The Masters is finally played, the strict no-phones policy will still be implemented.
While some players will break the rules and sneak their devices out onto the course, Charles Howell III isn’t going to be one of them.
“I’ve been so scared walking through the game I’ve never come close to taking my phone on to the course,” he told Golfweek. “And I never, ever, ever will.”
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