It’s the sounds you miss the most.
No, not the sounds of a roaring crowd when a big-name player hits a clutch shot or makes a key putt. We know those sounds haven’t been part of the PGA Tour since the tour returned from its three-month coronavirus pandemic suspension last June.
But with no fans on the course at The American Express this week and a drastically reduced number of volunteers and other personnel that would normally be on the course at a PGA Tour event, the quiet of the golf courses at PGA West this week has been a little disconcerting.
It’s a little like watching your favorite movie with the sound completely down on your television, You know the characters are on the screen saying “May the force be with you,” or “Here’s looking at you, kid,” but you can’t hear the words. How frustrating is that?
Time and time again, the players on the tour have said they are now accustomed to the silent tour setting. They don’t like it or want it, but they understand why there are no fans and are willing to accept the trade-off of no fans for an opportunity to play golf and make a check. But it is still eerie.
During a second-round moment, Patrick Cantlay, Phil Mickelson and Rickie Fowler teed off on the first tee of the Pete Dye Stadium Course, and as each golfer was introduced, there was no applause. Total silence. Not even a polite golf clap.
But there is also the lack of usual crowd buzz around the clubhouse at PGA West. Fewer carts are working their way around the paths of the course. Workers and vendors are making less noise because there are fewer of them to begin with. Even the driving range, normally a beehive of activity with coaches and physiotherapists and equipment representatives floating around the players, has been reduced to a quiet group of players, caddies and the occasional swing coach or agent.
Last year vs. this year at #TheAmericanExpress part 2.
No fans means no stands.
— Shad Powers (@shad_powers) January 23, 2021
Sounds if you listen for them
But that doesn’t mean the tournament is without sound completely. Just as you need to look beyond the brown and gray of desert sand and rocks to see the red of a blooming ocotillo or the purple of a sage bush, you need to somehow listen beyond the silence to hear the sounds of the tournament this year.
There is still the sweet sound of a perfectly struck iron shot, a sound that will make almost any golfer’s heart race a bit. And with no crowd cheering, you can hear the players saying, “Nice shot,” to each other.
Or there was the conversation between two caddies walking off the course after their players had finished their round, with one caddie complaining that there is almost no place to hit the ball on a couple of the par-3s on the two PGA West courses.
“And there is so much water,” one caddie lamented.
Every once in a while, there is the sound of a homeowner at PGA West watching from their backyard – all that is allowed under state and county restrictions — applauding or yelling “Go get ’em,” to a player as they pass by.
How long will all of this silence and underground noise at golf tournaments last? The Waste Management Phoenix Open in two weeks is promising 5,000 fans a day on their golf course, but the three remaining tournaments on the West Coast swing in California in San Diego, Pebble Beach and Los Angeles will be played without spectators.
When the tour shifts to Florida, there will certainly be fans, but no one knows for sure how many until the tournaments are actually played. That should mean the return of roars and groans and even polite golf claps at tournaments.
That will be great for television and its microphones. But if you listen closely this week, there is still a golf tournament being played in La Quinta. Just a quiet tournament.
original article link https://golfweek.usatoday.com/2021/01/23/pga-tour-silent-golf-tournament-hear-sounds-golf-american-express/