Oct
26
2009
The Verdict on Parker McLachlin’s Pioneering Tweet
By Stephanie Wei under General

So, as expected, the PGA Tour was quick to address their disapproval of Parker McLachlin’s groundbreaking mid-round tweet and clarify that he actually did break a Tour policy.

On Monday Rick George, executive vice president and chief of operations for the Tour, phoned Parker to notify — or reprimand — him of his wrongdoing. McLachlin told ESPN that according to George, the scolding would probably be the extent of his punishment.

Parker explained his reasoning behind the tweet to ESPN.com:

Basically, in [Sunday’s] round we had a pretty long wait on the back nine sitting on the tee. The guys that I was playing with [Brad Faxon and Glen Day] were checking football scores and someone yelled out, ‘You should tweet about what you’re doing right now.’ I was like, that’s a good idea. I didn’t really think too much about it.

Honest mistake. I mean, he was only following the example of his playing partners and trying to please a fan’s request.

From the sounds of Jason Sobel’s report, Parker’s biggest offense was his unfamiliarity with the player handbook:

I didn’t realize the impact of cell phone restrictions during competition. We’re on our cell phones a good amount during practice rounds on the range. I think cell phones are so commonplace these days. My thought was the [former] LPGA commissioner [Carolyn Bivens] was encouraging their players to tweet a few months back, Stewart Cink is a big tweeter, so I didn’t really think that it was wrong to do.

Like Bivens, he’s a visionary and feels mid-round tweeting is a trend that might actually be encouraged in the future:

It seems like one of those things where it could be an evolving rule. Today it’s obviously against PGA Tour rules, but 10 years from now it might be something that could increase popularity or increase the interactiveness during the rounds.

While it’s not the most far-fetched idea, it does call into question professionalism. In March Milwaukee Bucks forward Charlie Villanueva created a stir after he tweeted from the locker room during half-time. Subsequently, this fall the NBA banned any use of Twitter in the course of games. The NFL has a similar policy.

I’m probably being naive when I say I can’t fathom it becoming a problem — because, you know, given that golf is all about integrity and sportsmanship.

The bigger concern here is the backup on the 5th tee that gave Parker and his playing partners enough time to fiddle with their phones.

[Photo by Dave Martin/Getty Images]