A letter to 'Baba booey!,' 'Mashed potatoes!' & 'Get in the hole!' guys
PGA Championship

A letter to ‘Baba booey!,’ ‘Mashed potatoes!’ & ‘Get in the hole!’ guys

This has got to stop.

For two consecutive weeks now, someone -- maybe the same person -- has been following the final groups of golf tournaments, yelling unoriginal commentary after every shot. I mean every shot.

Baba booey!

Yeah, that's it.

The Howard Stern battle cry echoed all over Oak Hill C.C. on Sunday. In the middle of backswings, as guys were walking between shots, after shots. You name the occasion, "Baba booey!" was the mantra.

There were some others out there, trying to force some lines that have never resonated with golf fans. The main refrain was "Mashed potatoes!" -- uttered enough times to turn the spuds from a lumpy mash into a drink-through-a-straw goo.

Whatever happened to the old standby?

Get in the hole!

Sure, it wasn't going to go in the hole. Often times, it was shouted on a tee shot at a 445-yard par 4. No one ever shouted it on a 6-inch putt. But it seems to have gone the way of the dinosaur or --


What the f***? No, not Chewie. Didn't you hear? The "Star Wars" franchise is going to be rebooted since Disney bought Lucas Films!

Anyhow, I found myself longing for the days before the serial shouter.

No, I don't want golf tournaments to be stale or stodgy -- the words so often used, even by people in the game, to describe the mood at a PGA Tour event. And I have no problem with people being served alcohol, or overserved for that matter. But if you're going to shout random things out at a golf tournament, let's establish some simple dos and don'ts.

  • Don't shout while a player is swinging. At a minimum, wait until contact is made before finding the nearest boom mic and yelling in its direction.
  • Don't wear our your welcome. Every shot is a little too much. If you want to yell at every golfer that goes by, make sure to attend the tournaments that have those hallmark holes where fans congregate to get liquored up, hope to see some risky business amid the patrons and scream to their hoarse happiness at each duffer.
  • Do your homework. Model yourself after the people in Phoenix who sit around all weekend at the 16th hole at the Waste Management Phoenix Open. At a minimum, they find a lot of the golfers' Wikipedia or PGATour.com pages and jot down a few fun facts about each player. Then they turn it into a song or a pithy chant. Players like knowing you know who they are, even if that means yelling something as rudimentary as "Go ::collegiate mascot here::!" And if you're not going to look into the people you're potentially bothering the shit out of, then be like the guy that yelled at Matt Kuchar at Oak Hill and have a cause. That guy yelled, "Stop world hunger!" An activist heckler? I can support that. We all liked Jungle Bird.
  • Do cheer your loudest when encouraged. Remember at the Ryder Cup when Ian Poulter riled up the crowd by asking for a little noise from the road crowd? Then remember on Sunday when he was pissed that fans were yelling at inopportune times? I'm not saying every player or caddie -- I'm looking your way, Steve Williams -- will want your chants, but some do in some situations.
  • Don't act like you're performing a public service. You're doing this for you and your dumb friends that hope to recognize you live on TV or, if you're an especially douchy bag, DVR playback. ("Oh! Here it comes! Listen to what I yell!") Shout what you have to shout, then move on. Don't look around awaiting backslapping from the gallery. Don't get mad if someone calls you out for your wasted opportunity.

With all of that out of the way, how do we go about enforcing these rules? All of those tournaments volunteers with unenviable task of confiscating cell phones from sneaky (or overt) picture takers while wearing crossing-guard vests will be reassigned to concessions. Fans, go ahead and take thousands of blurry pictures and video of your favorite player. You'll just delete it anyway.

In place of the Cell Phone Task Force will be a Blowhard Goon Squad, charged with enforcing a quickly escalating series of consequences for the people that come to golf tournaments simply to yell at players trained not to even acknowledge a king cobra strike in the middle of a fairway.

To keep things simple enough for the drunks to understand, we'll maintain a "3 Strikes" policy.

  • Strike 1: A tap on the shoulder from an imposing man or woman, issuing a stern look and a head shake of disapproval.
  • Strike 2: A punch in the gut from the blind side.
  • Strike 3: Being tasered without warning. When the fan comes to, they'll be without their badge and lanyard and in the Bullpen of Shame, where patrons will be able to mock them.

And the thing they'll probably shout?

You da man!

Oh, you shouldn't have.

About the author


Ryan Ballengee

Ryan Ballengee is founder and editor of Golf News Net. He has been writing and broadcasting about golf for over a decade, working for NBC Sports, Golf Channel, Yahoo Sports and SB Nation. Ballengee lives in the Washington, D.C. area with his family. He used to be a good golfer.

Ballengee can be reached by email at ryan[at]thegolfnewsnet.com

Ryan occasionally links to merchants of his choosing, and GNN may earn a commission from sales generated by those links. See more in GNN's affiliate disclosure.


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