(Reuters) – Fans who taunt Bryson DeChambeau with “Brooksie” chants to show what side they have taken in his well-documented feud with Brooks Koepka could be thrown out of tournaments, PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan said on Tuesday.
Monahan, speaking to reporters ahead of this week’s season-ending Tour Championship in Atlanta, said disruptive behaviour that goes against the civility and respect that are hallmarks of the game will no longer be tolerated.
“The barometer that we are all using is the word ‘respect,’ and to me, when you hear ‘Brooksie’ yelled or you hear any expression yelled, the question is – is that respectful or disrespectful?” said Monahan.
“That has been going on for an extended period of time. To me, at this point, it’s disrespectful, and that’s kind of the behaviour that we’re not going to tolerate going forward.”
Monahan said the policy change is not about a particular player and the PGA Tour’s process to update its fan code of conduct began in 2020 but was delayed due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
The most recent incident of such behaviour came on Sunday when DeChambeau, after coming up short in a two-man playoff that went six extra holes, angrily confronted a spectator who said “Great job, Brooksie” before the golfer motioned for a police officer to intervene.
Four-times major champion Koepka once called out DeChambeau for slow play, while DeChambeau, who won last year’s U.S. Open, made fun of Koepka’s physique in a magazine interview.
Their feud picked up steam after a leaked interview Koepka recorded with the Golf Channel following the PGA Championship in May. As DeChambeau walked behind the camera, Koepka rolled his eyes and made obvious his distaste for the player.
Though the video did not air on the Golf Channel, it soon popped up on social media.
DeChambeau was then heckled at the Memorial Tournament in June by some rowdy spectators who yelled out Koepka’s name and it has been a common occurrence ever since.
Koepka kept the spat alive by subsequently posting a video on social media thanking the fans who had yelled his name in Ohio and promising free beer for their support.
“By coming to a PGA Tour event, you’re expected to contribute to a welcoming and safe environment by refraining from and reporting any unsafe, disruptive, or harassing behavior,” said Monahan.
“Comments or gestures that undermine the inclusive and welcoming nature of the game will not be tolerated, nor will any harassment of players, caddies, volunteers, officials, staff, or other spectators.”
(Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto; Editing by Ken Ferris)