As test, Wyndham Championship to allow limited use of cell phones

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Fans at the 2010 Wyndham Championship will be allowed to use mobile phones -- as long as the devices are kept in silent mode and calls are made only in designated areas.
By
Associated Press

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Published: Tuesday, July 27, 2010 | 8:58 p.m.

Fans will be able to bring their cell phones onto the course at next month’s Wyndham Championship.

Defending champion Ryan Moore hopes to give them something to talk about.

Tournament officials said Tuesday that they would allow fans to use mobile phones at Sedgefield Country Club -- as long as the devices are kept in silent mode and calls are made only in designated areas around the course. Also, fans won’t be allowed to take pictures or video during the four competitive rounds.

Tournament Director Mark Brazil, a member of the PGA Tour’s tournament advisory council, said the group discussed changing the cell phone policy after some fans complained they were out of touch with their families and businesses without their mobile devices. He said the tour has confidence in his event’s network of volunteers and security workers to enforce the trial rules.

“We’re going to be kind of the guinea pig tournament on allowing this,” Brazil said. “We’re just going to test it here.”

Though wireless devices have long been a no-no on the PGA Tour, Moore said he usually hears rings from contraband cell phones roughly once or twice per tournament. He joked that he might send some text messages from the course, then said he expects fans to use their phones responsibly.

“People are going to sneak (phones) in anyways, somehow get them in. It’s adults. I feel like if you let them actually bring them out there, they’ll probably respect the fact that you let them have it and actually go use those (designated) areas a lot more,” he said. “People appreciate the fact that you’re not treating them like a 10-year-old: ‘You’re not responsible enough to do this.’ They’re actually letting them have it, and just say, ‘Please, just be respectful of play.’ I think people will do that, for the most part. I really do.”

Moore said he wants to give fans more reasons to reach for their phones and text their buddies.

I’m “going to do everything I can to come out of the way and play this event every single year,” he said, and not just because he claimed his first PGA Tour victory here last year. Rather, it’s a gesture of gratitude to the people who gave him his first shot on the tour six years ago.

He hadn’t yet turned pro in 2004 but had just won the U.S. Amateur when he was invited to play that year’s Greensboro event, which at the time was held in the fall across town at Forest Oaks Country Club. Since finishing tied for 24th that year, he has skipped the tour stop in the North Carolina Triad only once.

“When people take care of you and treat you right, you remember it,” Moore said. “That’s how this tournament has been for me.”

But for Moore, nothing topped last year. He beat Kevin Stadler with a birdie on the third hole of a sudden death playoff to claim his only win on tour. His best result this year was his second-place finish at the AT&T National earlier this month.

“What the win did for me last year, it wasn’t quite what I thought it would do for me -- it actually showed me a little bit more of how far off I was, which is weird,” Moore said. “I simply just came in here, this is a golf course that fits my game … and I just kind of got some good momentum and I played some really good golf that week.”