Ryder Cup organizers, in their infinite wisdom, have mandated that Rory McIlroy and other currently living members of the 2014 European and U.S. teams may go social with photos of themselves from Gleneagles at their peril. According to The Telegraph, a ban on uploading photos to the Internet through social media will be put in place by Ryder Cup organizers.
Yep, the wize(ned) old men of the European Tour, this year's host organization over in Scotland, want to protect "the brand" from such selfie scofflaws as the reigning British Open champion, who in July brazenly took a selfie raising the Claret Jug in the Royal Liverpool clubhouse and then tweeted to his more than 2 million followers a pic of himself enjoying the jug with family and friends.
"The Ryder Cup is one of the world’s most recognized sporting events and as such we need to ensure that the brand, encompassing fair play, teamwork and camaraderie is protected at all times which means ensuring that images of the event are not used for monetary gain in a manner which may go against those principles," a Ryder Cup spokesperson told the Telegraph last week. "The taking of pictures during high pressure sporting events has also been shown to have an adverse effect on players, with shutter sounds and bright flashes proving to be a distraction at critical moments. It is not fair to compromise the sporting occasion for either the players or those spectating."
UPDATE: The Ryder Cup organizers have reversed course, and posted an item to their website on Wednesday saying spectators will be allowed to take some photos and share them via social media.
The European final roster
Luke Donald is left off the European roster for Gleneagles as captain McGinley opts to go with another English veteran for the 12th and final spot.
U.S. team member Bubba Watson (a selfie aficionado when the whirring of others’ cameras are not messing with his sanity on the course) may applaud the edict — especially after the temper tantrum the two-time Masters champ pitched at Hoylake. We wonder, though, not only how effective the new law will be, but also how the powers-that-be can frown on a practice that comes as naturally to the players as sticking a wedge shot close and at the same time condone the intimidation attempts of unofficial U.S. co-captain Michael Jordan.
The six-time NBA champion is the cigar-chomping Zelig of Ryder and Presidents Cups, popping up everywhere the U.S. fields a team. All well and good for the hoops legend who has become a popular golf partner of several American players to wave the red, white and blue — as a fan but not as one of captain Tom Watson’s emissaries.
We suggest Capt. Tom take a look at the tape. As the U.S. was in the midst of the Meltdown at Medinah, His Airness decided to insert himself into the proceedings by verbally and physically taunting eventual Euro hero Ian Poulter.
"If you’re leading, you never allow a team to get back into the game," Jordan, engaged in a game-within-the-game with Poulter, stated in the first of a three-part Road to the Ryder Cup series that NBC broadcast on Sunday.
"I’m going to follow [Poulter], I don't care where the match is," Jordan, who documentary host Mark Rolfing declared "took it upon himself to help his country," said. "I'm trying to … use every little mental challenge that’s possible so that we can get the advantage … I'm staying with him, I feel like I got the mojo."
Well, not so much, as it turned out. MJ, whose glee for his own finger-wagging and chest-jabbing tactics ("like a sledgehammer hitting me," Poulter remembered) seemed oddly misplaced given the outcome, probably should have picked on someone his own size rather than the bantam rooster who'll lead his squad into battle again in September.
"I remember walking off the tee box at 13, looking over and he kind of wagged his -- I don't know if you can call it a finger, it looked like an arm -- this big finger comes up and he was wagging it at me, pulling a face as if to say, 'We've got you,'" Poulter recalled during the debut of his SiriusXM show in February, according to the Associated Press.
"I'm a little golfer, Ian Poulter, playing golf in the Ryder Cup, and there's legend basketball player Michael Jordan psyching me out in the Ryder Cup," said Poulter. "And you know what? I said, 'I'm gonna hole this putt.' He'd done that for so many years on a basketball court. He hit the shot time and time again. I said to myself, 'I'm not going to allow him to get in my space.’
"He was playing his basketball game and ... it was my court, and he's not playing ball."
After Jordan's self-congratulatory ploy backfired in such spectacular fashion, if the PGA Tours won’t clamp down on Jordan’s heckling the way they are on harmless celebratory photos, Watson might want to take it upon himself to proclaim the basketball Hall of Famer out of bounds.