The PGA Tour took a swipe at new media on Thursday.
Tour Vice President Ty Votaw sent a surprise email to reporters at Torrey Pines during the first round of the Farmers Insurance Open. It read: “As you know, our media regulations prohibit the use of real-time, play-by-play transmission in digital outlets. In order to enforce these regulations, beginning this year, we will revoke the on-site credentials of all journalists affiliated with outlets that post play-by-play coverage, whether those posts are originating from tournament site or otherwise.”
Tweeting has become a major part of golf coverage with many digital outsets as well as traditional newspapers and magazines engaging in the practice. Hall of Fame sportswriter Dan Jenkins has found a new audience and new life in the Twittersphere, and journalists from across the spectrum use the medium as a quick-hit way to drive readers to their more lengthy and substantive pieces.
While the legal complexities of broadcast rights and data sharing must be considered, from a practical standpoint the policy seems counterproductive. Fans without credentials can tweet all the play-by-play coverage they want either on-site or from the comfort of their sofas, but credentialed media members who are driving interest and eyeballs to the event are prohibited from the same.
Expect clarifications and perhaps modifications to the policy in the coming days. In the meantime, Golf.com concluded its report on the ban by stating that the site “will continue to report on the Tour's position and will also live blog Friday’s second round.”
In poker terms, that’s a call and a raise.