The U.S. Golf Association barred cell phones from The Olympic Club and the U.S. Open. Perhaps a sign the policy will change in the future, the governing body is allowing mobile phones at this week's U.S. Women's Open at Blackwolf Run in Kohler, Wisc.
The policy is similar to what the PGA Tour, PGA of America and other major tours have allowed. Fans can brings in their mobile phones all days of tournament week. They can make calls, as well as send email and text messages, from designated areas on the course. Phones are not allowed on the rope line and must be set to silent or vibrate modes. During practice rounds, fans can take pictures but cannot during tournament rounds. They cannot take video at any time.
“I think even when you didn't allow them, they were still out there," Michelle Wie said Wednesday. "As long as everyone just turns them off, it doesn't really bother us that much. Just take pictures, but turn the sound off.”
If fans are cooperative this week, it might mean an expansion of the policy to other USGA events.
“This is very manageable environment to be able to test this out,” said the Ben Kimball, the USGA director of the U.S. Women’s Open. “It will be a new experience for us, but we hope it will be a pleasant one.”