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Mitch Albom, in the hecklers' corner

Mitch Albom goes off on Davis Love in a truly wacko piece in the Detroit Free Press. Love pitched a fit two Sundays ago when, mano a mano in match play with Tiger Woods, a heckler targeted him with some choice words at inappropriate times. He demanded that the offender be ejected from the course, lest it ruin his concentration. Albom points out that heckling is routine at ballparks, courts, and rinks, and argues that golf should be no different.

That Albom completely lost the plot in making his argument is suggested by this comparison

In hockey, careers are much shorter than in golf. In hockey, most players earn less in a year than Tiger Woods earns in a week.

That's a neat comparison: the median hockey player versus the best golfer on the planet. Not only that, but he's probably wrong on both counts! And then this:

Love, like a lot of golf purists, insists that his critics "don't understand the game."

Wrong. They understand the game. This may be a shock, but the game isn't that complex. And hitting a golf ball requires no more or less concentration that hitting a curveball, or making a winning jumper, or catching a 60-yard bomb in the end zone.

Davis simply is used to one thing, deferential silence, and he doesn't want it changed. Well. That's OK. If golf wants to scale back its popularity, not sell as many tickets, not take as much TV money, maybe it can control its crowds.

Why stop there Mitch? Why not allow soccer hooligans inside the ropes? Golf would rock! Fans that pay $1000 a year in advance for the mere right to enter a lottery for US Open tickets would pay twice as much. Yea, right. Making the fans a part of the competition is the least interesting component of "spectator sport." I'm glad golf keeps that stuff out of the game, and have been for a long time.

Maybe Mitch is trying to shake the sensitive image created by writing books like The Five People You Meet in Heaven, but that's being charitable. He has a good bit more in common with Davis Love than he realizes.

Tennis, anyone?