The past few months -- and specifically the last 24 hours -- will have reminded the commissioner the answer to a problem invariably creates additional, intertwined sources of heartburn. In his bid to neuter the threat posed by a Saudi-financed competition tour, Monahan devised the Player Impact Program to bestow money on the needle-movers and avoid their splitting.
For respectability, the strategy was draped in gossamer-thin metrics around enthusiast engagement on social media. That, in turn, graphs a perilous route for a company still laboring under the code levied by Monahan's predecessor, Tim Finchem, who viewed displays of individualism and personality around as positively as the Korean civil support.
And one man is single-handedly demonstrating how the Tour is straddling cultures which can't co-exist.
Koepka treats social media trolling since the fifth major, approaching it with a decision to vanquish all challengers. Fellow athletes, players and announcers are legitimate targets to get a man who uses Twitter as unerringly as a sniper does a range. His most frequent target has been Bryson DeChambeau, the pair with manhood-measuring contests about slow play, length, abdominal muscles and significant trophy cases.
For golf fans accustomed to the arid landscape of"These Guys Are Good" advertising and pablum about every player being a charitable fan of puppies, the Brooks-Bryson sparring has come as welcome relief.
The peak -- or nadir, if you are of the Finchem disposition -- came two weeks ago when footage was leaked of an unaired Golf Channel interview with Koepka in the PGA Championship in which he eye-rolled and cussed disdainfully as his hapless and blissfully unaware foil walked by. That week in Kiawah Island, a smattering of fans hollered,"Come , Brooksy!" In DeChambeau and his apparent umbrage has been noted.
The tedious trend continued at this week's Memorial Tournament, culminating on Friday when a number of his vocal antagonists were booted, with witnesses claiming DeChambeau pointed them out to security.
There are many legitimate reasons to show loudmouths the doorway in a golf tournament, however, the sin of calling someone"Brooksy" ai not one of them. Figuring out hecklers is a fundamental necessity for any athlete. Maybe realizing that nobody likes a whiny snitch, DeChambeau tried to defuse things after his round, saying the name-calling was"flattering." But his inability to ignore the taunts is very likely to draw more.
Ever alert to opportunity, Koepka quickly posted to social websites a movie declaring that his partners at Michelob would give a free case of beer to some of his supporters whose day was"cut short" at the Museum. As an exercise in trolling and sponsor activation, it was remarkable. As professional conduct, it was so.
This is sport for Koepka, and he's damned good at it. But his'free beer to get boors' stunt crosses the line from entertaining fans to enlisting them as co-conspirators. He should know the effect will be to incite more heckling of a fellow competitor and that is a dangerous game to play these days. Ask Trae Young, who had been spit on by a buff. Or Russell Westbrook, who'd popcorn dumped on him. Or Kyrie Irving, whose mind was the goal of a tossed water bottle. There's a cancer metastasizing in American game of folks who consider that purchasing a ticket makes them an actor in the action, not merely a spectator for it.
On Saturday, I requested Koepka when he has some regrets about weaponizing wankers from DeChambeau.
"I'd never condone anyone being a diversion during somebody's swing or when they're just about to hit," he explained. "As specialists, we do appreciate lovers becoming engaged at the appropriate times. It's a part of competition and sport. Hecklers are always going to be part of any live performance. Most of us get called different names. I have been called DJ several occasions when I was slipping at Bethpage [in which a faltering Koepka hauled off Dustin Johnson in the ’19 PGA]. It's part of it. He said he considers it "
"Together with the Michelob Ultras, I wanted fans to know I saw exactly what was happening and I appreciate fans who care about golf. It's good to see fans out there loving it, having fun following a year of no one."
I proposed to Koepka that compensating booted lovers with beer promotes an environment of heckling.
"I'm not condoning disrespectful or inappropriate behavior," he replied. "I'm engaging in helping develop the game of golf and developing the Tour. I am here for individuals being engaged and enthused about golf, so long as it doesn't cross the line."
Best make it a double.
However, it does not need more oafs that are convinced a national TV audience is breathlessly anticipating their loudly slurred contributions to the comedic canon. Koepka is showing just how impossible a balancing act it will be as the Tour enables players to engage fans while concurrently attempting to micromanage the messaging.
DeChambeau is guileless but not blameless. He can't summon the gendarmes whenever he hears a crack he does not enjoy, along with the PGA Tour should stop its safety -- typically local police departments -- from allowing his infantile reactions. But there is a difference between an amiable jock razzing that a teammate along with a schoolyard bully picking on the defenseless nerd, and Koepka's jousting with DeChambeau currently feels about as much a battle of equals as a hunter clubbing a baby seal.
Like most of schoolyard juvenilia, this soap opera has a limited lifespan. In keeping with the rules governing adolescent spats, the onus is firmly upon the oldest kid to grow up.
That means you, Brooksy.